Few childhoods are complete without a visit to the local water park. Sun, water slides, friends, and ice cream embody the young person’s idea of

fun. Roberta Sant’anna’s Water Park captures this atmosphere of amusement at the water parks in the south of Brazil where she was born. As a child, Roberta Sant’anna visited the water parks but since growing up she has realized the extreme fantastical world these parks represent. “The monumentality and singularity of each one of them with their crazy dinosaurs-Indians-mythology mix was the first thing that caught my attention.”

Sant’anna describes these water parks as huge destinations for the Brazilian middle-class that are open exclusively during the vacation season. Conveniently located by roadsides, she states, “these are environments of collective catharsis, where body inhibition is forgotten and vanity and fragility are exposed.” She gravitated more towards the portrait than multi-figural action shots to relay her motif because of her analog Hasselblad camera– anything but a fast and discrete device. “I like this frontality. I think fragility and vanity are extremely connected to the consciousness that people have when they are being photographed.”

For Sant’anna, water parks have always been a place safe from the outside world to pass the summer’s day. However, some of the images have an ironic undertone. Her subjects respond to the gaze of her lens revealing signs of contemplation, ulterior emotional states, and the awareness of self-image. Sant’anna thinks that irony can be read as a kind of confrontation since both her and her subjects were wearing bikinis. “A lot of visual poetry comes out of our natural behaviors, especially when it comes to this kind of ‘closed’ vacation or fun environments, when we set our bodies and minds free to celebrate free time and have fun.”











All images © Roberta Sant’anna

Discover More