I visited Brazil for the first time in December 2019 and stayed with a friend in Sao Paulo. This was the first stop of my extensive travels through South America. At that time I hurt my back and lost my credit card, so I was stuck in this Megalopolis of 21 Million people, the 4th most populous city in the world. Sao Paulo has a pace unlike seen anywhere else on earth – services run 24 hours a day and people are wired to work nonstop. This initially put me off as I was expecting Brazil as a surf and caipirinha beach destination, such as Rio or Salvador.


Carl Van Der Linde

Quickly I discovered that the people of Sao Paulo was what gave that place it’s appeal. I’ve yet to discover a place where every single person that I come across simply outshines the previous with their extravagance. Pink hair, purple hair, green hair, undercut with dreadlocks and various skin piercings over tattoos. I decided to return a year later for Brazilian carnival, an event where all the flamboyant features of the Paulista’s would be accentuated and on fire.

This project showcases various subjects in my travels to Sao Paulo, from friends and models to people on the streets, artists and music producers. The aim is to tell the story of Sao Paulo culture, a Brazillian street subculture that can only be described in a plethora of images. It’s a space where the lines between gender and sexuality are very much blurred and for a couple of days during Carnival, the whole city turns into a giant middle finger towards the Brazillian fascist government. Sao Paulo offers great cityscape backdrops with pastel tones and brutalist buildings. The people are friendly and proud, with absurdly great style – I hoped to have captured and showcased this best possible.

All images were shot on 120mm film.

Carl is a photographer from Cape Town, South Africa. He finds great interest in portrait, fashion and documentary style photography, often incorporating friends, strangers and fellow travellers as his subjects. He exclusively uses film as a photography medium.


I would like to credit Romy Ortega for putting me in touch with my subjects and showing me around the city. She is my unofficial guide to Sao Paulo (@romyzeta).The editorial with music producer and artist Diamante (@diamante), his wife Kerolyn (@kerolyngeho), muse Jenny (@m4ryjenny) and baby Shine was styled by Clara Pasqualini (@clarapasqualini), owner and designer of Fauve (@fauvebrand). Special thanks to Bernardo Ferraz (@bernardoferazzz) Paolla Di Monica (@paolladimonica) Thays Vita (@thaysvita_) Thay Rodrigues (@thayrodrigs) Livia Ortega (@liviaortega) Karen (@Ka_karecos) and all others that allowed me to document their Carnival experience in 2020.