Saturday, 4 December 2010

No Olho da Rua 03/12/2010

Rosemary's Cars

Rosemary has been one of our quietest participants, small and so timid we wondered how she could survive out there. She always carried a rucksack full of all her belongings, her mobile 'home'.

Editing the archive this week has given us the opportunity to revisit one of our favourite 'series' of photographs - the car portraits Rosemary made back in 2005. She would wait at one of the several sets of traffic lights around Gameleira junction and photograph the drivers stuck on red. Initially we just enjoyed her choice of subject and admired the pictures, documents of people's 'awkwardness' really. Later, we discovered her motivation went beyond producing pictures for the project or maybe just for pleasure (although Rosemary clearly loved taking pictures). It transpired she was working the same spots each day and selling the prints back to people as they passed by on their regular commute. The other kids assured us she was doing quite well from this venture.

We, of course, looked for Rosemary before we published the newspaper in 2007. We couldn't find her, although people said she was around, living with a guy none of them liked. The highlight of the newspaper distribution was a trip to Pampulha park with a combi full of kids. It was great. We all handed out about a thousand newspapers, they went swimming in the dirty lake, danced like crazy to a busker, refused to queue for any of the popular rides at the funfair but had a brilliant time in the hall of mirrors and on the ghost train. In short they had more fun than anyone else. We bought dinner in a restaurant afterwards.

It was dark when we arrived back in the main street opposite Gameleira junction to drop the kids off and Rosemary was there, sitting cross legged on the pavement. She was pretty stoned, looked rough and had a broken arm but she smiled so sweetly when she saw us. It wasn't easy with the boyfriend there, drunk and edgy, but she continued smiling as she carefully studied each page of the newspaper. She looked so vulnerable. We headed home to our comfortable beds, wondering if she was going to be ok.

Rosemary left Belo Horizonte a while ago. Apparantly she's gone to Vitoria, about 500km east of here, where she has some family. We would love to see her again but hope she's better off where she is.

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