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Paul Jaffe was living in Porto Alegre, Brazil
, when he invited his friend Chris Keeley
to join him for a two-week visit. The photos the pair took make up the
Brazilian-American Cultural Institute's "Porto Alegre: Portrait of a City,"
a collection of 32 photographs with such a divergent vision that they could
have been shot in different places. Keeley's images, printed expansively
from 4-inch-by-5-inch negatives, are filled with movement and bold colors,
and their subject matter plays class differences to the hilt. The contrast,
for example, between Suburban House and Aristocratic House is clear, as is
the gap between the group portraits City Children (most of whom seem
genuinely happy) and Indians (all of whom are grim-faced). By comparison,
Jaffe's photographs are at once more universal and more personal. Remove the
Portuguese signage from his understated black-and-whites and the images
could be of almost any big city. But Jaffe makes it clear that the sites he
chose to document-alleyways, street corners, take-out-food stands-hold deep
meaning to him as a longtime resident. Jaffe is obviously fond of shooting
trees in front of buildings, and this tendency produces several of his most
impressive images: Street & Tree and Fig Tree blend natural arboreal curves
with the rigid, rectangular geometry of the edifices they adjoin, and the
Keebleresque trunk of Roots threatens to devour the only patch of wall
that's still visible in the photo. The exhibition is on view from 9 a.m. to
5 p.m. Friday and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at the
Brazilian-American Cultural Institute , 4719
Wisconsin Ave. NW. Free. (202) 362-8334. (Louis Jacobson)



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argentinians


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brazilian indians


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city children



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downtown porto alegre




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