Project

Offside: Soccer Fans of Sao Paulo

Documentary photographer Tomasso Protti and war photographer Alice Martins spent a month in Sao Paulo where they shot the World Cup beyond the stadiums - in the bars and in the streets of the slums.

Tomasso Protti was born in Italy and later chose Sao Paulo as his residence. His colleague Alice Martins grew up in Sao Paulo but works in much hotter spots – like the Middle East. Both photographers highlight crucial social topics worldwide, however during the World Cup events in Brazil Protti and Martins decided to document the life of Sao Paulo, the place that’s close to their hearts. Bird In Flight invited them to share their thoughts as to how the sports tournament affected the city and show their most interesting photos.

Alice Martins

Alice Martins 34 years old

A freelance war photographer. Born in Sao Paulo, lives and works in the Near East. Covered events in Sector Gaza and the civil war in Syria. Have been featured in Time, National Geographic, the New York Times, Al Jazeera, Vice, Newsweek.

I’ve been covering protests against FIFA in Brazil since January of this year, and it was interesting to be there during the event and see how people reacted. I chose to visit Favela do Moinho, a slum in the center of Sao Paulo, to watch the opening game with the local residents. On the day before the World Cup started, there was a soccer tournament at Favela do Moinho, with the slogan “Moinho Cup -Soccer is Ours,” as both an act of defiance towards FIFA and a claim that soccer is a passion that belongs to all Brazilians, whether they can afford to buy a ticket to be on the stadium or not.

Then, on the day of the opening game between Brazil and Croatia, I went back there and watched it with the residents. The vibe was of celebration, and people wore their Brazil jerseys proudly, while sitting outdoors with their TVs to share the moment with neighbors and friends. It was interesting to see this.

Brazilians have always loved soccer, and the World Cup has always been a big event for them. But hosting the event in Brazil left everyone with mixed feelings – because of the corruption related to the budget. Brazil still lacks quality in essential areas such as public health and education. But every time Brazil scored a goal, national pride took over and those issues were forgotten for a moment.

I captured my best shots while watching kids play soccer in its purest form, and with such joy. It is something professional soccer lacks these days, because it became a multibillion-dollar business. I also enjoyed capturing people’s expressions while they watched Brazil play on TV in Vila Madalena, a bohemian area of Sao Paulo famous for its bars and street parties during carnival.


{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/AliceMartins_worldcup_01.jpg”,
“alt”: “Alice Martins 1”,
“text”: “Brazilians celebrate the moment when their team beats the Columbian team and enters the semi-finals. The festivities lasted till 3 AM despite the city mayor’s intention to implement a curfew. Vila Madalena, Sao Paulo.”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/AliceMartins_worldcup_02.jpg”,
“alt”: “Alice Martins 2”,
“text”: “Brazilians are watching their team defeat Chile via penalty and move on to the quarter-finals. Vila Madalena, Sao Paulo, 28 June 2014.”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/AliceMartins_worldcup_03.jpg”,
“alt”: “Alice Martins 3”,
“text”: “The neighbors dragged out a TV set and are now watching the World Cup opening outdoors. Slums of Sao Paulo, 12 June 2014.”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/AliceMartins_worldcup_04.jpg”,
“alt”: “Alice Martins 4”,
“text”: “”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/AliceMartins_worldcup_05.jpg”,
“alt”: “Alice Martins 5”,
“text”: “”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/AliceMartins_worldcup_06.jpg”,
“alt”: “Alice Martins 6”,
“text”: “”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/AliceMartins_worldcup_07.jpg”,
“alt”: “Alice Martins 7”,
“text”: “A mother watches the World Cup’s first match while covering her child’s face from a neighbor boy who’s spraying shaving foam. Favela do Moihno, Sao Paulo, 12 June 2014.”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/AliceMartins_worldcup_08.jpg”,
“alt”: “Alice Martins 8”,
“text”: “The slums of Moihno is a low income district in the center of Sao Paulo, next to the middle class residence area. 12 July 2014.”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/AliceMartins_worldcup_09.jpg”,
“alt”: “Alice Martins 9”,
“text”: “Thousands of fans flooded the streets and took over the bars in the Vila Madalena district to watch the Brazil-Mexico game. People are disappointed with the absence of goals during the match. Sao Paulo, 17 July 2014.”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/AliceMartins_worldcup_10.jpg”,
“alt”: “Alice Martins 10”,
“text”: “At the opening game a projector beam falls on the names of the three workers killed during the stadium construction. Slums of Moihno, Sao Paulo, 12 July 2014.”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/AliceMartins_worldcup_11.jpg”,
“alt”: “Alice Martins 11”,
“text”: “People flood the streets to celebrate Brazil’s victory over the team of Columbia and its progression to the semi-finals. Vila Madalena, Sao Paulo.”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/AliceMartins_worldcup_12.jpg”,
“alt”: “Alice Martins 12”,
“text”: “Despite the fact that the city officials decided to close all the bars for the night and brought in riot police to convince people to leave the streets, the festivities continued till the morning. Vila Madalena, Sao Paulo.”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/AliceMartins_worldcup_13.jpg”,
“alt”: “Alice Martins 13”,
“text”: “The riot police is getting ready to deal with the demonstrators during the England-Uruguay match in Sao Paulo. The action is dedicated to the anniversary of the protest when in 2013 hundreds of thousands Brazilians came out to express their disagreement with the city’s decision to increase its public transportation fees.”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/AliceMartins_worldcup_14.jpg”,
“alt”: “Alice Martins 14”,
“text”: “Brazilians celebrate their team’s victory over Columbia and its progression to the semi-finals. Vila Madalena, Sao Paulo.”
}

Tomasso Protti

Tomasso Protti 28 years old

A documentary photographer. Born in Italy, lives and works in Sao Paulo. Was inspired to shoot the events surrounding sport competitions after reading the Andrew McConnell’s story on surfing published in the “Surf Club” newspaper and Francesco Zizola’s “Project Poseidon” about a group of visually impaired, united by their passion for scuba diving.

The way the Brazilians followed their team was absolutely remarkable. All public services and business activities closed every time the Brazil team was scheduled to play a match, and crowds of people gathered in the streets outside small bars with small televisions screens.

Soccer here is a religion, that’s why the game against Germany and the moments after the 7-1 defeat were experienced as a great national tragedy – Brazilians were shocked and incredulous. In terms of feelings, that was an incredible moment.

I took my best photos during the antigovernment protests and the actual soccer games. I enjoyed walking up and down the streets of Sao Paulo, photographing and discovering the city under the excuse of shooting the World Cup.


{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/ThomasProtti_worldcup_01.jpg”,
“alt”: “Tomasso Protti 1”,
“text”: “Brazilian fans are watching the street translation of the Brazil-Chile match in Sao Paulo.”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/ThomasProtti_worldcup_02.jpg”,
“alt”: “Tomasso Protti 2”,
“text”: “Brazilian fans celebrate their victory over Chile.”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/ThomasProtti_worldcup_03.jpg”,
“alt”: “Tomasso Protti 3”,
“text”: “Brazilian fans are watching the game between Brazil and Mexico in the center of Sao Paulo.”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/ThomasProtti_worldcup_04.jpg”,
“alt”: “Tomasso Protti 4”,
“text”: “A female protestor. Sao Paulo.”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/ThomasProtti_worldcup_05.jpg”,
“alt”: “Tomasso Protti 5”,
“text”: “A young man throws sand during the tournament organized by several public unions as a protest against hosting of the World Cup.”
}

New and best

303

85

433
192

Read more