As if you weren’t pining to be there already, along comes Olaf Heine with a special sort of torture in the form of his spellbinding photographic study Brazil. Oh, you terrible man. With the World Cup dominating the country at the moment, it’s easy to forget that there is so much more to South America’s biggest and most populous country. Of course, football is the national obsession, and let’s not forget the other Brazilian clichés – bikini babes, carnival, cheerful poverty in crime-ridden favelas. Yes, these things get the attention, but in his book, through photography and accompanying essays, Heine shows another, less hackneyed, side to Brazil.
Take, for example, the architect Oscar Niemeyer, designer of the city of Brasilia and countless other Brazilian buildings and landmarks who loved his curves as much as the next man (if not more). It was the sweeping modernist architecture of Niemeyer that led Heine to Brazil in the 1990s, on a quest to explore the country from a Niemeyer perspective, returning many times since. Eschewing the colour photography that the vibrant country seemed to demand, he favoured black and white imagery that had served him well in other places, and the decision has lent his photographs a timeless quality. Of course, football; crime; and beautiful women are never far from a Brazilian story, too. The book, which carries the essays in English, German, French and Portuguese, is brimful of hauntingly beautiful imagery; it can be ordered directly from publisher teNeues.