A rare intimacy and level of trust between the photographer and the occupants of Copacabana Palace is captured in these pictures. A ground-breaking work reflecting on a global problem: the UN reports more than 1 billion people worldwide without adequate shelter, and Brazil is no exception. "Paradise is here, hell is here, madness is here, passion is here." This statement about Rio, from the renowned Brazilian composer and singer Francis Himes, became Peter Bauza's motto while photographing the residents of Copacabana Palace. The six blocks of this uncompleted housing compound, named after the famous luxury hotel on the even more famous Copacabana Beach, have become a place of shelter and hope for some 300 sem teto, sem terra families - 'those without roof or land'. Peter Bauza's superb pictures form a highly perceptive tale of their lives: their everyday moments of joy and sadness, their needs and illusions, but also the beauty and strength of a community that has emerged against all odds in these precarious circumstances.
Copacabana Palace is a typical example of Brazil's internal dichotomy of wealth: millions of Brazilians fight for the barest bones of survival, while the government goes through one of its most severe political and economic crises, yet spends billions on infrastructure for world sports events. This true story is at once a documentary and a poetic diary, chronicling a shared life.
Peter Bauza left his native Germany after graduating in international commerce, and worked for many years as the manager for an international company in several Latin American countries. His passion for photography soon grew strongly and Bauza began to develop his visual language. Later, at the Open College of the Arts in England, he refined this hobby into a highly personal style. With his commitment to social and geopolitical issues, he hopes to give a voice to people who urgently need our help. Bauza is a member of the Echo Photojournalism agency, and one of the most committed and sensitive photographers of our time. His work is very localised, but discusses internationally recognisable issues that can be appreciated wordlwide. He publishes his photographs through many media outlets, and has won multiple international awards. For over 20 years now, Bauza has been based in Latin America, although he travels all over the world.