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Santa Fe and Salvador: Two cities in black and white January 7, 2008

Posted by Georgete in black-and-white photos, Brazil, Life, People, Photography, Point of view, Thoughts, travel, Videos.
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Musician at Plaza, Santa Fe by GeorgeteTwo years ago I went to New Mexico to attend one of the Santa Fe’s Photographic Workshops. If you haven’t had a chance to visit Santa Fe, think about it. The landscape and local residents will enchant you. I bet you will not regret waking up at 5 a.m. to take pictures at the Plaza. The natural light is unbelievable and you will find many surrounding buildings that stand just as they did during colonial Spanish times.

But what really blew my mind was meeting people that still live in a hippie-lifestyle. Particularly the ones I met in Madrid, a former coal mining center that was restructured as an art colony in the 70’s. They reminded me of “Novos Baianos,” a Brazilian band that shook the entire country in 1969 with their irreverent way of life and music. Most importantly, they were part of a cultural movement known as “Tropicalismo,” which many of its artists were driven by socially aware lyrics and political activism.

The Military Dictatorship
The “Tropicalismo” emerged at one of the most difficult times in the Brazilian history: the military dictatorship. Yep, from 1964 to 1985, all presidents were chosen by a military junta. As you can imagine, repression and censorship dramatically impacted all forms of artistic and political expressions. Many teachers, politicians, musicians, artists and writers were investigated, arrested, tortured or exiled from the country.

Naturally, “freedom” became vital and it was expressed in colorful clothes, long hair, mixed rhythms and through the living-in-community concept. Located in the state of Bahia, the beach of Arembepe was one of the most popular hippie communities in Brazil in those days. It was also the home of “Novos Baianos,” which new lifestyle was reflected in many of songs that become classics of the Brazilian popular music later on.

Illustration: Santa Fe 2005 and Salvador 1970
In an attempt to illustrate my vision of what both cities (Santa Fe and Salvador) have in common — despite of being almost four decades apart –, I’ve put together a slide show using the pictures I took in NM (2005) and public images of Salvador and Novos Baianos’ members. To watch the video, click on the arrow below.

By the way, I am proud of the fact that Brazil has been a true democracy since 1985. Viva!

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