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Some photography creates distances, puts the people in the pics out on some distant horizon you’ll never reach, nor would you want to.  Other photography closes the gap, creates understanding and feels like a genuine conversation. Mostly, but not exclusively, that’s the photography I love and that’s the photography Tiana Markova-Gold creates.

I first came across her photos on one of the webs best blogs, Photography Lot. What do I love about her work?  Just the feeling that it wouldn’t matter to Tiana whether she is photographing people in New York City, or Haiti, she’s going to approach those people exactly the same way. That’s a precious and all too rare quality to find in a photographer, the maturity to put the person in the frame, to put their story before your style.

Professionally that’s  a lonely road to take because the photography world celebrates style over everything else. I’ll let you into a secret though, on a personal level its much more satisfying.  Awards give you a rush to the head and afterwards nothing.  The relationships forged here last a lifetime in peoples hearts.

duckrabbit would like to thank Tiana for generously sharing this work with us and our readers. Please do leave comments.

DUCK

Home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and luxury hotels, Rio de Janeiro is also a city of the starkest inequalities imaginable.

Roseli, 35 years old, grew up and continues to live in the streets of central Rio with her mother, two sisters and one brother. Roseli has seven children, none of whom are with her. Both of her sisters are pregnant. Rio de Janeiro, Brasil 2009.

In addition to the four million people (one third of the city’s population) living in favelas, there are thousands of women and children who make their home and their living in the city streets. The instability and dangers of life on the streets have created a complex subculture that is little understood by the rest of society.

Juliana, 22 years old, and Stefani, 26 years old, live in the streets of central Rio. Rio de Janeiro, Brasil 2009.

Women and children living in the streets are easy targets for police brutality and other forms of mistreatment and exploitation. Many sniff glue, called cola, or smoke crack to give them a temporary escape.

Glauciette, 24 years old, Juliana, 22 years old, and Roseli, 35 years old, live in the Praça de San Francisco in central Rio. Rio de Janeiro, Brasil 2009.

Founded in 1994, Centro de Estudos e Ação Excola empowers women and children living in the streets of Rio de Janeiro to make long-term positive changes in their lives. In 2003 Excola began the Salão Escola de Beleza Afro (Salon School of African Beauty) program, which trains and certifies 20 young women each year as beauticians.

Glauciette's six children live with various family members in a favela outside the city. She has been living in the streets of central Rio for five years. Rio de Janeiro, Brasil 2009.

These women also received counseling, access to condoms and health information. The women are continuing to meet in the small salon space Excola rents in central Rio, and many of them have started offering hair and beauty treatments in their neighborhoods.

Roseli and her sisters were raised in the streets and are now having their children in the streets. Rio de Janeiro, Brasil 2009.
Stefani bathes on the steps of the church in Praça de San Francisco. Rio de Janeiro, Brasil 2009.

The hairdressing skills these women have learned provides them with the possibility of becoming economically independent, creating a viable alternative to begging or prostitution and increasing their self-confidence and self-esteem. For many of the women, the salon also provides their only reprieve from the dangers of the streets.

Putting on lotion and perfume after bathing on the steps of the church. Rio de Janeiro, Brasil 2009.
The Salão Escola de Beleza Afro (Salon School of African Beauty) program trains and certifies 20 young women as beauticians each year, many of whom are living in the streets when they join the program. Rio de Janeiro, Brasil 2009.
The Escola de Beleza (Beauty School) program rents a small salon space in central Rio where the women can see clients, practice their skills and spend time together in a safe place off the streets. Rio de Janeiro, Brasil 2009.
Joelma and Isabela braid Jucelia's hair. Rio de Janeiro, Brasil 2009.
For many of the women involved with Escola de Beleza, the time they spend in the salon is the only reprieve they get from the streets. Rio de Janeiro, Brasil 2009.
Roseli puts drops in her eyes to relieve irritation. Rio de Janeiro, Brasil 2009.
Wenderson is the name of Glauciette's youngest son. Rio de Janeiro, Brasil 2009.
Juliana and a boyfriend. Rio de Janeiro, Brasil 2009.

For more information about Centro de Estudos e Ação Excola:

http://www.excola.org.br/novo/index.php

  • Great work, gentle, like an open window.
    Thanks.

  • Great work on the salon, what a wonderful program.

    All the best,
    Tricia in Rio

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