Gorgeous photos that show what the streets of Brazil are really like

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Alexandre Amaral/EyeEm

Brazilian documentary photographer Alexandre Amaral has been capturing the streets of his home country during an interesting time in its history.

Between the 2014 FIFA World Cup, protests for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, and now, the Olympics well under way, Amaral has had plenty of colorful action to capture.

Photo-sharing app EyeEm recently chatted with Amaral about his technique for capturing the life and culture of his favorite place.


Amaral has been photographing Brazil for the past 15 years. He’s currently based in Salvador, which is located in the northeastern state of Bahia.

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Alexandre Amaral/EyeEm

“There’s no better way to describe a place than through its people,” Amaral told EyeEm.

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Alexandre Amaral/EyeEm

Whenever Amaral shoots, he walks the delicate line between interacting with his subjects and simply observing.

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Alexandre Amaral/EyeEm

“By definition, street photography means staying unseen – but you can get in touch with people too. It’s a good exercise! Sometimes I don’t mind being noticed and sometimes I’d rather not be,” he said.

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Alexandre Amaral/EyeEm

“If I see people looking at me kindly, I simply go further. If not, I’ll try another place,” he said.

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Alexandre Amaral/EyeEm

“I’ve had some people laughing, asking me not to take their picture. I simply put the camera away and keep moving as if nothing happened,” he said.

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Alexandre Amaral/EyeEm

The Brazilian flag is featured in many of Amaral’s photos.

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Alexandre Amaral/EyeEm

“On my profile you frequently see Brazilian flags because of the messy period we’re facing. In this particular case, the protesters were asking for the impeachment of the president,” he explained.

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Alexandre Amaral/EyeEm

Amaral is careful not to depict his country in a singular way.

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Alexandre Amaral/EyeEm

“Street photography is not about following recipes,” he said.

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Alexandre Amaral/EyeEm

“Of course we’re in turmoil here because of corruption and many other problems with society and politicians. So when people start taking pictures of this scenario, the whole world opens its eyes to look at us,” he said. “It’s impossible for me to paint this scenario completely.”

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Alexandre Amaral/EyeEm

Amaral gave advice to tourists looking for prime photo ops: “I think the sightseeing spots are really overexposed. I would tell people to go to other places and connect with local people outside of the tourism chain … if you can, leave the cities,” he said.

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Alexandre Amaral/EyeEm

“Brazil is one of the best countries in the world to visit, for sure,” he said.

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Alexandre Amaral/EyeEm