Love Land Stop Time
In November 2013 art director Vera van de Sandt approached me to co-operate on this project about Brazilian love motels. After realizing most of these motels were soon to be transformed into soulless tourist facilities, catering for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, we decided to capture this fascinating cultural phenomenon before it was too late.
Love motels are omnipresent in Brazil. From large conurbations to sleepy villages, seaside resorts to jungle hideouts: the careful observer will spot these architectural gems immediately. The interiors are even more enchanting, varying from exuberant design layouts to practical, Spartan rooms.
At first sight, it appears as if the motels are simply there to provide privacy. After all, most Brazilians stay with their parents until their late-20s, usually in cramped apartments and with multiple siblings. However, some couples experience the love motels’ extravagant appearance and eccentric extras as a way to break their daily routine.
As the cliché goes, Brazilians are a passionate people, not afraid of openly exploiting their bodies and ‘showing what they got’. Westerners often stereotype Latin Americans as promiscuous, cheating on their partners whenever the opportunity arises.
Contrary to popular belief we discovered how certain expressions of sexuality, e.g. unconventional relationships, homosexuality and prostitution, are actually not as accepted in Brazilian daily life as we expected. Conservative values and standards reign supreme in Brazil. From this perspective, the love motels fill in a human longing for intimacy. These are places where one can find shelter and secrecy from a judgmental and often intrusive society.
With this project we hope to offer a much more inclusive view on the multiple ways in which people from different cultures might experience love, romance and sexuality.