You can tell a lot about a swimmer’s personality by the way they swim. The stroke inevitably reveals the disposition of its owner. There are angry swimmers whose hands slap the water so hard you hear them before you see them. There are oblivious ‘drifters,’ who tentatively zig and zag and wear all sorts of plastic floatation devices to keep them secure and yet, always seem to be right where you are. There are self-involved swimmers who resist sharing a lane by swimming in the center, smacking knuckles as they pass you and make such violent flip turns, that likely incoming swimmers are drenched with a clear message, ‘don’t even think about getting in here with me.” There are some who glide by so quietly and powerfully through the water, their wake is the only signal that they’ve just passed you.
Then, there’s Marcio Santos.
Marcio swims not so much in the water as he is above the water. He literally flies across the pool with such alarming force you can’t help but to notice him.
There’s no denying his physical energy even as he stands still. You could say he even looks a bit scary. But, alas, looks can be deceiving.
The day I met him at the pool, I saw this giant wave that was Marcio. I watched him for a while. He was very skilled and comfortable, not imposing at all, despite these images. I overheard him talking with some of his lane-mates and recognized the singsong zhhhwoozhy way of speaking as a Portuguese accent. Then, I heard something that made my ears prick up and I instantly knew that Marcio would be my next photography subject.
I approached him much the way I do all my subjects. It’s kind of unavoidable because you never know when the opportunity will present itself again, so I rushed him, dripping wet, swim-cap pressed to my head and goggle imprints ringing my eyes. This is a fairly typical poolside appearance, so it’s not that unusual, but asking a perfect stranger to pose in their bathing suit is.
Marcio immediately agreed.
As we talked, I learned about his life in Brazil and that he married a Brazilian woman who had come to Culver City. His face lit up as he talked about his two daughters.
Standing there talking with him, I would never in a million years guessed that he had just finished a ten hour night shift . Marcio is a long haul truck driver for Horizon Lines.
It was a dreary Sunday afternoon when we were finally able to coordinate his second portrait in east Compton, where Horizon Lines keeps it’s storage containers and trucks. Marcio was on Brazilian time and as I waited for him, clouds gathering, sun disappearing, I took some pictures, hoping he would eventually show up. It was a pretty cool location.
Marcio drives like he swims. Out of nowhere, a red car came zinging around a corner at a very high speed. There was Marcio, an hour late, with his smiling daughter, Isadora in the back seat.
Long Haul Truck Driver
Here's Marcio with his daughter, Isadora, who had no problem climbing into the cab to keep warm while she waited for her dad.