"domingão", Alberto Simon


Alberto Simon
6 part series
c-prints 100 x 80 cm
São Paulo happens to have no beaches, a deadly serious issue for Brazilians; the nearest are 80 km away. Paulistas have always have to search for alternative ways to spend their Sundays in a city that offers very little public spaces that could serve as a substitute. They spend their free time doing things that in the eyes of Cariocas (the people from Rio) are weird what Cariocas derisively call "programa de paulista".
These pictures were taken on consecutive Sundays in August and September of 1997, at a stretch of the highway to the international airport that passes right underneath the routes for take-off and landing. Both sides of the highway had been spontaneously been converted into a beach, with hundreds of people sunbathing, playing ball, etc. complete with dozens of vendors selling anything from ice-cream to cold beer. Most of them have probably never stepped into an airplane, for in Brazil flying has been traditionally prohibitively expensive.
The increasing popularity of this beach was the reason for its being declared by the authorities an off-limits area for sun/plane worshipers: the throngs grew bigger every week and too many accidents with fatalities (caused by people crossing the highway from one to the other, hundreds of cars parking in and out on the shoulders) forced them to act fast: as of November of 1997 the weekly ritual was over.