The fourth in our series of up close profiles of Red Bull Illume judges from around the world is Brazil’s Paulo Lima.
"Trip is not just a magazine. It’s a genuine Brazilian project. It’s not easy to understand, much less explain," says Paulo Lima, editor and founder of Trip magazine.
After launching Brazil’s first skating magazine and doing his own surf report show on radio in 1984, Paulo founded Trip magazine in 1986 when he was just 24 years old. Today, the magazine’s publishing company produces 40 million copies a year in Brazil through 14 titles. The magazine has expanded by having a free-spirited attitude and trying to reach readers in the most innovative ways possible.
“Trip is about all the journeys we take in life – whether we want to travel to see somewhere new or make a mental journey into the past to discover ourselves. The magazine tries to show new perspectives through any media as long as it’s creative and exciting.”
The magazine experimented with a 3D issue in 1994, gave out a free CD of the metal band Sepultura in 1998 and has offered content via mobile phones since 2002. Trip Liquid is its latest innovation - a 16-page insert with articles and photos from the magazine on the inside of a water bottle label. Its radio station can be heard in 480 cities in Brazil.
Trip is also known for its experimental use of typography and has commissioned the well-known graphic designer David Carson to re-design the magazine in the past. The magazine's next step is to move into Europe. A new edition will launch in German-speaking countries in April with a mix of articles from the Brazilian edition and new content for Austria, Germany, Luxembourg and Switzerland.
Did Paulo ever imagine that the magazine’s philosophy would inspire so many readers? “Never, not even in my best dreams. It’s taken a lot of resilience, guts, love and 25 years of hard work as well as many great weekends at the beach, incredible surf and snowboard trips. But I always knew back in the 80s that there was more out there for those able to push their limits and open their minds to different ways of thinking from other cultures and values.”
Typical of the magazine’s effort to change perceptions, it launched a separate female edition in 2001, TPM (Trip For Women), which reaches out to those frustrated with the stereotypical portrayal of women in Brazilian media. It also created headlines in 2000 when the magazine asked the well-known model photographer Bob Wolfenson to do Brazil’s first nude photo shoot of a quadriplegia sufferer who had lost control of her limbs and torso.
“We really publish all kinds of photography. From a great edgy fashion shot to exciting nude pictures. From water shots of surfing in Tahiti to crack addicts walking on the streets in Brazil. Life is our main subject.”
One significant change in photography in Brazil over the last decade was the use of action sports images in tobacco adverts. While it was forbidden to link cigarettes and Olympic sports in the 90s, a legal loophole in Brazilian law allowed the companies to show adverts of mountain climbers, skateboarders and surfers smoking instead. Until Trip magazine started a media campaign back in 1998, many didn’t see the irony in advertisers connecting extreme sports with athletes smoking.
Brazil is often mentioned with India and China as one of the world’s new superpowers but Paulo thinks that the creative industry has also matured, offering more chances for photographers to stay than in the past.
“I think Brazil is the place to be right now. Brazil is just moving from adolescence to adult life. The market for real creative and professional people is growing a lot. I have a great friend who is a very talented photographer. He used to live in NYC and Paris to be able to make good money and develop artistically. He’s just moved back to Brazil like many others. If you want to be a board sports photographer here for example, your life will be very interesting, but moneywise, it won’t be easy. But I think it is getting better.”
Paulo also points out that there’s a new generation of Brazilians who are showing the country’s new confidence. “Just watch Rickson Gracie fighting, Bob Burnquist skateboarding, Louis Sabia doing a B.A.S.E. jump or Carlos Burle surfing. Not to mention Giselle on the catwalk – that’s attitude. It’s them and thousands of others right now who are really going for it.”
Why is he getting involved in Red Bull Illume? “I want to have the chance to check how crazy athletes and photographers can be around the world!”
See the slide-show for Paulo Lima's selection of Brazilian photographers who have worked for Trip magazine: Mauricio Pimentel, Vava Ribeiro,Anselmo Venansi, Alexandre Vianna and Flavio Vidigal.