In the fringes of São Paulo, Brazil’s biggest city, lies a massive fruit, vegetable and flower market – the third largest food wholesale operation in the world, and the busiest in Latin America, turning over more than $3bn (£2.3bn) a year.
One Saturday in January 2012, Massimo Vitali arrived at 7.30am, when individual shoppers are allowed in to browse. He was on assignment for the New York Times Magazine, charged with capturing the contrasts of modern Brazil, from the urban density of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro to the empty sands of the country’s north-east. The colourful abundance and teeming humanity of São Paulo’s famous market seemed a gift of a subject.

With split-second timing, the Italian photographer captures a tossed watermelon in mid-flight

Spotting a bridge above a vast warehouse, Vitali knew he had found his vantage point. “I climbed up with my tripods and settled down to observe. I like to stay still and look at things for a long time before I take a picture,” he says. As one stallholder playfully lobbed a watermelon to another Vitali seized his chance and clicked the shutter. “I am interested in the tiniest detail like that, the smallest thing, because that is what throws everything else into relief,” he says.

Lisa O'Kelly, "The big picture: Massimo Vitali shoots a bustling Brazilian market" in The Guardian, March 15, 2020.