Luca Meola

Born in Milan in 1977, he has a degree in Sociology. In 2003 He moved to Bolivia where he worked with a human rights organization. In the last years he developed mostly personal and commisioned documentary projects. He focused on various issues, among them the life of junkie children of La Paz, the Senegalese Wrestling, the Myotonic Dystrophy. Since the end of 2014 he has been living between Italy and Brazil where he started a project about the megalopolis of São Paulo. His work has been exhibited in international festivals (Festival de Tiradentes, Paraty em fogo, Voies off de le Rencontres de Arles, Trieste photo Days), and featured in international magazines (LensCulture, P3, Privatephotoreview, iGNANT, Q Code Magazine). He Received prizes from IPA – International Photo Awards – MIFA — Moscow International Photo Awards – and Street Photography Awards of Lensculture.

Cidade da Garoa

In the city of São Paulo a lot of couples kiss in public places, especially in the subway. It is an intriguing phenomenon, frequently observed if you are lost in the city – center of this megalopolis estimated at 20 million people. In fact, São Paulo is the largest and most populous city of the southern hemisphere; it is also known as the Cidade da Garoa. The Garoa is a fine and quite invisible drizzle. It seems that the drops are floating in the atmosphere rather than falling down from the sky. For this reason the majority of its inhabitants point out weather, “deslocamento” and “segurança” as the main problems of the city. The deslocamento (displacement) concerns the time spent moving from a place to another, for example from home to office. In order to live happily in this megalopolis, a person should work and find a girlfriend in the same neighborhood where he lives. For this reason, some areas of the historical center of the city that once had a bad reputation, now are going to be repopulated of people: especially commuters of the emerging middle class, tired of spending most of the day on public transportation. However this phenomenon of redevelopment and repopulation of the city-center is relatevely new. Probably, for this reason,a lot of couples usually give passionate kisses in the subway because they are not so sure if they will have another chance in the future. Furthermore, São Paulo is perceived as a very dangerous place: assaults and robberies happen every day; being attacked is so common that this practice has almost become ritualized, even if it is rare to be hurt. However, the subway is perceived as a place where you can let your guard down and get involved in a passionate kiss, as if the world outside does not exist. Obviously safety is linked to a very unequal society: walking down the streets of downtown, you can realize not just how many people live in the street, but also how many helicopters fly through the sky.

“And you were a difficult beginning
I get away of what I don’t know
And those who sell a different dream of a happy city
Soon learn to call you reality
Because your are the other side of the other side of the other side of the side”

A verse of “Sampa”, a song of 1978 by Caetano Veloso. The author is singing as a Bahian immigrant just arrived in the city and surprised by the tricky city of São Paulo. With an estranged eye because foreign, as with a voyeuristic and personal approach, this project wants to tell about the Cidade of Garoa.

To view more of Luca’s work please visit his website.