The Washington Post Magazine

This duo of photographers is pushing to have Brazil’s diversity reflected in the marketplace

To talk about our work and about ourselves, we need to talk about where we came from, because that is a fundamental part of who we are and who we are becoming. Talking about origins is important, especially in this world with globalized ideas and ideals, where being different is showing the most intimate part of you in the simplest and most poetic way possible.

The Brazilian northeast is one of the richest regions that anyone should have the pleasure of visiting, and by that we mean the people themselves: all the affection and human warmth, but mainly the culture. The culture is a reflection of our greatest ambitions, desires and even our frustrations. But, like everything around us, the culture is constantly changing. And our work is shaped by these changes. We trust these natural processes, and we face these transformations with great respect.

When we joined our visions as MAR+VIN in 2016 and started being part of the Brazilian fashion market, one of our main goals was to make fashion a less oppressive, less racist, less classist place. Although we have made progress in some areas, such as the inclusion of Black people and LGBTQIA+ people in editorial shoots and advertising campaigns, we understand that there are deep discussions to be had about how this supposed “democratization” of fashion has been happening. Sadly, many brands use these discussions shallowly and are motivated by purely commercial reasons because they otherwise fear retaliation.

A few years ago, it was much more difficult for us to create any material for a magazine or advertisement that was mostly Black, even though self-declared Black Brazilians make up more than half of our country. We are, however, already experiencing some changes in this area, and there is a growing wave of creative minds in the market belonging to people of color — not only in front of the cameras, but behind as well.

The challenges we face are many — imposed by our government and its irresponsible and genocidal policies — especially at this critical time in which when we should be united and focused on the well-being of all citizens. What moves us is knowing there is still a lot of work to be done. We hope we can continue to inspire people, and with this bring something positive to the world.

MAR+VIN is a duo of fashion photographers formed by Marcos Florentino and Kelvin Yule in 2016. Based in Sao Paulo, the two have gained prominence with a photographic language exploring roots, Blackness and reconstruction of the image of beauty in the 21st century.

Photographs taken for: Giuliana Romanno for Vogue Brasil; Emannuelle Junqueira; Marie Claire Brazil; Este Paper; Stories Collective; Roro Rewind; Sebrae SPFW Day; Angela Brito; Matri Label.