In “Palheiros,” Brazilian photographer Rodrigo Garcia documents the routine of straw cigarette producers in Arraial do Desemboque, a rural area in the municipality of Sacramento, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

“It is interesting that there is a small but essential production of straw cigarettes in the interior of Brazil. The beginning of the output of the ‘haystack,’ as these cigarettes are known, is carried out by men and women. They face the dry air of the heights of the drought, the harrowing heat, and swirls of dust that appear all the time. These workers deal directly with the corn straw, which is sharp, so the bandages on their hands are more protection than dressings. First, the harvester breaks the ears, and then a group equipped with improvised butcher knives cuts them, a job that requires the strength of delicacy, thus separating the straw into large bags that go on to manufacture the haystack. Afterward, a group collects the disheveled ears, filling them with large baskets that are thrown back in the harvester so that the grain is threshed.”

Graduated in Advertising, Rodrigo Garcia is currently a photographer at Uberaba and has dedicated himself to documentary photography projects, telling stories of everyday life and rural communities in the interior of Minas Gerais. In 2018, he had winning photography in the “Fotografe Challenge” of the Fotografe Melhor Magazine and 1st place in the VI National Exhibition of Photographic Art in Ribeirão Preto. In 2019, he was selected in the “Afrodescendientes em las Americas” contest and a semifinalist at the Brasília Photo Show Festival.

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