14 – by Hélio Beltrânio and Lucas Corazza

It’s been 0 days without sugar…

I have had a very complicated relationship with sugar for years. The last few months, however, have been particularly difficult. Only those closer to me know it, but the fact is I have become truly addicted, complete with many of the features and symptoms of chemical and psychological dependence. Day after day I find myself filling my stomach with cheap candy and industrialized sweets like there’s no tomorrow.

Knowing that I will have a stomach-ache all day, that my cholesterol levels are high, that it’s bad for my shape and thus my work as model, that I’m wasting money, that I get headaches every other day, that I don’t sleep well because my legs get spasms in the middle of the night — no rational argument can prevent me from entering any junk food shop almost every time I go out, filling my bag with sweets, eating it all before arriving at the next corner, and just across the street doing it all over again at the next shop. Sometimes more than once a day. Meanwhile all that healthy food gets stale in the refrigerator for lack of room in my stomach.

I produced this shoot with the help of my friends Hélio Beltrânio and Lucas Corazza in an attempt to tackle the addiction in a new front, by making my problem public and thus, maybe, hampering the denial of my own reality. My dear friends… thank you.

I was invited by Hugo to produce and artistically direct a photoshoot for his project, shot by Hélio Beltrânio. Hugo, a sculpted body, an aesthetic reference, a beautiful object of desire — is shockingly compulsive by sugar. I accepted the challenge and went in search of the philosophy of Brazilian taste. Why our overly sweet taste? Why do we value sweetness more than taste itself? Why make so much sugary decoration that we cannot even eat? Why, why, whys! Many issues that have brought to light a more relevant matter: what could be considered a “conscious” consumption of sugar?

If appearance explained the essence, taste would be unnecessary.

I try to make better desserts to inspire people to make better desserts, refusing the easy — and addictive — solutions provided by the food industry. Using sugar to deconstruct the appeal of sugar: the photoshoot would expose the beauty and fragility of Hugo, dependent on sugar — compulsive for it. The beauty that hides the empty calories that the food industry puts in their sweets. As if by melting a sky of cotton-candy, and demystifying weaknesses through images, the shoot would reveal some of our world views, our fears and the ways we have found to overcome them: by accepting them.

What I didn’t count with is that the shoot would also reveal my own frailty. A quote by Alain de Botton recently marked me. It read: “People only get really interesting when they start to rattle the bars of their cages” I won’t lie: it’s scary to face your fears and realize that there’s beauty in that which surprises. That which scares. Seeing Hugo strip and surrender voraciously to his addiction, to my direction and to Hélio’s naked and raw lens brought me a whole new perspective. And it scared me to realize how much beauty I can see in the dark. Such are the weaknesses. Amazing. Vulnerable. Obscure. Delicate. Intense. — Lucas Corazza, chef