Latin American Fotografia: Luiz Maximiano

By David Schonauer   Tuesday April 29, 2014

The faces of the boxers captured by Brazilian photographer Luiz Maximiano at the Champion’s Forge competition in Sao Paulo stare back at us with weariness and pride. Whether winners or losers, a common bond of triumph shines through their sweat and exhaustion

Maximiano attended the Champion’s Forge event—the oldest and largest amateur boxing competition in Brazil, through which most of the country’s professional fighters have emerged—for several weeks between February and April of 2012. He hadn’t come to record the action in the ring, but the inner spirit of the fighters, revealed most openly when they stepped into his makeshift studio immediately after their bouts. The results of his work are black-and-white images that are both raw and beautiful in their intensity and emotion. The work earned Maximiano a place among the winners of the Latin AmericanFotografía 2 competition.

“I took a white background and some strobes, and as soon as they would finish their fights, I would photograph them,” he says. “The strobes I used were Elinchrom Rangers, and I used an octabox as my key light. I shot with a Canon 5D Mark II and converted the images to black and white later in Photoshop.

The fine-art work was a jumping-off point for Maximiano, who began taking pictures when he lived in Amsterdam between 2003 and 2010. He also attended the Eddie Adams workshop in New York in 2005. “Photography started as a hobby but then turned into an obsession, and I just wanted to photograph and get better at it,” he says. “In 2007 I won an award in the Netherlands as best new talent of the year in photojournalism, and that gave me a lot of confidence to pursue photography.”

On his return to Brazil, Maximiano began forging a career with self-assigned projects like his series on boxers. Today he is shooting for most of the big publications in Brazil—Veja, GQ, Trip, Rolling Stone, among them—as well as a number of international magazines. Recently the Ogilvy agency gave him his first big advertising assignment, shooting a campaign for Anhanguera Educacional, the second largest private for-profit professional educational company in Brazil .

He also continues to work on personal projects, including a new one about transsexuals in Sao Paulo and other cities.



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Dispatches from Latin America