Excursion 5: Crashes

Wednesday, Aug 6, 2014

I‘m realizing that the biggest thing with the gopro is to slow down. The act of filming is the act of living. If we race through it, we don’t have a chance to enjoy it. The beauty in the act of taking a photograph is stopping for a moment to enjoy that which is being photographed. (*Research writings on the experience of photography and video.) Note to self: slow down. Along with this is: don’t be afraid to slow down. Our whole approach is very experimental. The biggest advice I could give to myself is to slow down & be intentional, become one with the camera.

It was a long day, after a late start. We hit the road sometime after noon, talking along the way when Pilar hit her bad leg on a wheelbarrow parked on the sidewalk. We stop into a luncheonette to get juices and some ice for her leg and from there a taxi to Av do Contorno/Av Amazona. Pilar gets some more ice at the luncheonette we stopped in at the tail end of our last excursion, and sits icing her leg a bit. I’m still so full after a large breakfast and juice and need to keep moving, so I pace over to the corner and take some photos and video of a cordoned off accident site full of broken glass on the sidewalk.

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We use my scarf to tie the ice to Pilar’s leg & make our way across the street and get started, I start filming right away outside of a bar/cafe on the corner. Pilar stops inside and starts recording audio. We stand around for a bit taking the place in: there’s good music playing and two men each sitting alone and looking like they’ve already drunk quite a few (the feeling of the place is reminiscent of Irene’s Pub on the corner of Manhattan & Nassau). We would stay but are just starting and it’s too early for a beer. Pilar already wants to take off the ice wrap.

7.Tiger&Waterfalls_IMG_3364Not more than a few meters away, I gravitate to a clothing store with a long colorful skirt on the half mannequin outside, and I pull Pilar in. We look around for a bit and not much calls out to me, but Pilar ends up buying quite a few things she’s very excited about! By the end of the shopping experience, I start filming short moments of movement outside. We continue on our way, I take my time today taking in my surroundings and really considering whether to shoot stills with the point&shoot or video with the gopro (initially I thought I could use the gopro for both but it’s just too much not to be able to see anything when shooting stills and a leap of faith I take with the video.)

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At the end of the short strip of shops, there’s a beautiful old house. It’s front facade is blocked by a large blank billboard, there’s a gigantic cellular antennae in the back and the house itself been repurposed as a hardware store. Pilar proceeds and I stay back and film the house. When I catch up to Pilar and she’s down the hill on the next street. This area feels very different from what we’ve seen so far. It’s quite a posh area with a fancy stores and restaurants. The topography here is very uneven and quite hilly, but people seem to navigate these hills without a problem.


We pass a small restaurant and the headquarters for the political candidates that have been advertising everywhere. Just as I’m about to take a photograph of the candidate headquarters I hear a crash, then another and yet another. It’s a three car pile up accident and a motorcycle driver was also hit. He seems to be okay and jumps to his feet right away. This shakes us up a bit and lots of people come out to see what happened.

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We look for a place to stop for a snack and use the bathroom and Pilar sees a place across Avenue do Contorno. As I look for the nearest crosswalk, Pilar runs across. The traffic is so unpredictable here in Belo Horizonte, but this is a breakthrough moment for me in realizing that we all make our own decisions and I suddenly feel liberated. I take my time and slowly walk past a small triangular park with trees and the statue celebrating motorcyclists. There’s a man across the street with a shopping cart who looks like he’s collecting things. We stop at a restaurant with outdoor seating and seems to be a middle eastern inspired place.

After a drink and a snack we photograph the political headquarters and continue along the Contorno. The highway seems to dip here and the sidewalk continues to elevate. There’s a narrow overpass for pedestrians a number of small shops and a construction site on the corner. There isn’t anything especially spectacular to look at however I’m enjoying the relative emptiness of the streets for doing experiments with the gopro.

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Approaching Avenue Alvares Cabral, I notice a small old white house on the top of a hill. Once across the street I can see a sign that explains that this is a meteorological center, I’m very curious to find our what’s inside, but we’ll have to leave this exploration for another time. Across this large street., Avenue do Contorno dips down low again. There are a number of buildings made of very interesting materials on this strip and also a large construction site and a number of large development projects here.

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We’ve just about reached our end for the day which isn’t a specific diagonal avenue, because this is an especially long section of the Contorno, but rather one of the angular points in the street. We stop into a tiny little store jam-packed with the widest assortment of bottles of Cachaça. The man in the shop gives us a number of samples to try and talks with us for quite a while.

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As we head back we run into one of the girls from our yoga class who is setting up tables at Japanese restaurant where she works. Bello Horizonte feels like a small world. We stop for another little break and a drink and I enjoy watching a bunch of young guys washing taxis on the street wearing colorful short pants, long socks and big rubber galoshes. Then we make our way to Rua de Bahia to head back home. Both Pilar and I can’t seem to stop taking photographs even after we’ve officially stopped working for the day.

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I’d say the biggest noticeable difference about this particular excursion is the distances between Pilar and I as we walk have been the largest they’ve been thus far. I’m feeling like I made some headway with my technique with the gopro so it’s been a good day.

“Making art…begins with getting into the now and enjoying your day.” – Julia Cameron

“Today’s lesson from life on the high seas: Hesitate, and Die.” -Tom Langowski


How to incorporate more dance & movement in general into life and work?

Dance on the table.

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