Creative Layover: Rio de Janeiro

by Lex van den Berghe

posted on 02-28-2018

Bem-vindo ao (welcome to) Rio de Janeiro, the location of our fourth installment of the Creative Layover series. This time we are heading south of the equator. As one of the cultural hubs of Brazil, this destination is as colorful as Carnaval.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

When you hear someone say “Rio”, images of Christ the Redeemer with arms opened wide, sandy beaches, and colorful costumes of Carnaval flood your mind. Beyond the glitter and grandeur, Brazil’s culture is infused with art. Rio de Janeiro is one of the few cities where street art is celebrated; murals and graffiti cover the city, telling stories of historic events and social issues. Let us introduce three Brazilian artists who have taken their culture and traditions and added a bit of modern flare to them.

Photographer – Ana Carolina Fernandes

At the age of 19, Ana Carolina Fernandes became a photojournalist at the O Globo newspaper. Since then, her style has changed from shooting theater and cinema festivals to developing personal essays and documenting Rio’s street demonstrations. On being a photojournalist, she says, “I focus on human issues – giving a voice through my photos to the people in society who do not have one.”

Red Light Room. “Since 2012, I’ve photographed within a transgender community. My objective was to portray the beauty and sensuality of a body both masculine and feminine. The series illustrates the permanent search for identity and happiness, two concepts that connect us all, without any distinction of gender, sexuality or social class.”

Blue as the Sea. “I took this photo at Prainha, a national park in Rio. It is named after a famous Brazilian song. I wanted to maintain the integrity of the true blues in this image.”

Bate-bola. “I took this photo this year [2018] at a traditional suburban Carnaval celebration of Clóvis. With Photoshop, I added noise to evoke the style of film photography and empower the blacks and whites of the image.”

Ana Carolina’s Tips, Tricks, and Parting Words of Advice: “As a photojournalist, I don’t drastically change my images as to maintain the integrity of the shot, but I do appreciate the ability to accentuate the colors or contrast of a photo to better represent the reality of the scene.”

Photo Manipulator – Marcelo Monreal

Marcelo Monreal began using Photoshop when he worked in an office that created labels for companies in the textile industry. Though it was challenging in the beginning, Marcelo enjoyed the endless possibilities that resulted from using the software. His current project, Faces UN Bonded, started because of a childhood memory. He explains, “One day my mother told me not to run so fast because I could get hurt. I went to her and asked, ‘Mother, what are people made of?’ She smiled and said, ‘They are made of flowers.’” The passing of his mother inspired the idea to make cutouts on faces to express grief with flowers growing out of them to show love.

Nellie Blue. “Nellie was one of my first collaborators on this project. It was with this edit that I began to use colors in the cutouts and began to understand the contours of people’s faces.”

Polina Rabtseva. “Polina is a photographer and a model. In this work, I did not bother to leave her face very visible. I was delicate, but I did add more forms and shapes to her face.”

Reign Apiim aka Lashaia Artis. “I took more time to do this edit because there was already a lot to work with from the original photo. I needed to study the shapes a little more to figure out what flowers to use, so that it would not become too oversaturated.”

Marcelo’s Tips, Tricks, and Parting Words of Advice: On perseverance, “We have to keep in mind that every idea is born small before it turns into something incredible, so never give up on your work.”

On using Photoshop, “It is an intuitive tool, and there are several ways to do the same thing, so the best way to edit something in Photoshop is your way. There are now numerous tutorials and resources available, but you have to find your own way of using them.”

Illustrator – Nathalia Suellen

Nathalia Suellen taught herself Photoshop by creating a photo collage over seven years ago. “It has always been a tool for my restless mind (and quiet mouth),” she explains. She was only creating photo manipulation pieces for a while, but she realized that some of her clients wanted content that had no limits. Describing the shift to 3D, Nathalia says, “I’ve been putting a lot of 3D into my new work, and it has helped my surrealist ideas to finally come true. Photoshop now blends the best of both worlds…I compare Photoshop to a sewing machine stitching different fabrics together; I am trying to create art using several different pieces.”

Wash Away Your Sins. “It’s about regret and remorse. This is inspired by a scene from a video game, where you find a bowl of water to wash away your sins.”

Campfire. “This is inspired by ‘The Three Graces’, but in a more obscure way. My initial idea was to make the girls happy, dancing around the fire, but I ended up more with a ‘witches at night’ feel.”

Still Life. “My attempt to portray the meaning of ‘Still Life’…not only fruits and flowers, but human nature itself.”

Nathalia’s Tips, Tricks, and Parting Words of Advice: On how Photoshop’s Camera Raw is essential to her workflow, she says, “I use it all the time, mainly the noise reduction and color adjustment (HSL/Grayscale) tools. Sometimes my final 3D render does not turn out as expected and I need to balance out all the colors. Camera Raw has everything I need in the same place: Hue, Saturation, Luminance, Split Toning, and Noise Reduction. Basically, Camera Raw is the first essential step I take before starting any of my work.”

For more from these artists, check out their social channels below:

Ana Carolina Fernandes | Instagram

Marcelo Monreal | Instagram | Facebook

Nathalia Suellen | Website | Instagram | Facebook

Check out our last two stops in Tokyo and Paris, and stay tuned for our next installment of Creative Layover, where we will spotlight three artists in a new city.

Topics: Creativity

Products: Lightroom, Photoshop, Creative Cloud