A slap in the face

PhotographerTONI PIRES From the city of São Paulo, born i...
PrizePress / Sports
Entry Description

In my schedule as a photo-journalist there was a simple task: follow the Brazilian Olympic Boxing team which will represent Brazil in London. Three weeks later the article was ready. Art Directors and editors were happy but I was not sure I had told the story I saw behind the eyes. That seemed like an off-Broadway two-act theatrical drama from the 80´s: Directed roles, orchestrated speeches … everything fitted. I could feel a different aura distant from the daily routine I could document through my lens. So, I decided to get closer but less noticed with a smaller camera just to blend in and get into the lives of these fighters. I tried to understand what could possibly take somebody out of the certain to the improbable and unexpected. Then, I could feel the pain out of those punches, not only practiced in the dome but also developed daily through drained-out bodies symbiotically working with uncertainty and inquietude. One of the boxers, a girl who owned her place to the Olympics, after her training and completely wet said to me, “Turn your hands into fists, then some punches are like musical notes: you got a lot of combinations”. In this dialogue between sweat, tears and dreams, I put my feelings in order to des-construct perfectionism and tell a bit of the story that comes from the pain and the pleasures from lives whose struggles out of violence and dignity is to forge a way to being respected, noticed and, who knows, loved. With that in mind, the process of capturing images in low-light scenes that demands more pixels, fissures and spots which placed me closer to these people who give and go for a Slap in the face every day early in the morning as breakfast.

About Photographer

From the city of São Paulo, born in September, 1965 Based in São Paulo - Brazil independent photographer Graduated in Economics and Journalism from Unesp Post-graduate studies in photography at Centro Universitário SENAC Since 2007, member of the advisory board at Anhembi Morumbi University for the Photography course Member of the sub-committee of design and photography at ANJ from 2003 to 2010 For 13 years, worked at Folha de S.Paulo newspaper, working as photographic reporter, coordinator of subjects, specials editor, adjunct editor and, between 2006 and 2009, photography editor-in-chief Currently developing authorial projects in photography, also devoting himself to research and study of mobile photography and its new mechanisms of capturing and distributing images. Member of the international collective UAIPhone. “In my photography I try to reach my inner drawers in their most secret emotions, a true kaleidoscope of feelings inherent to viewing and to living. The pleasure of telling stories by means of images is the great motivation of my life.”