Internet Slams Model for Using Hurricane Sandy Wreckage for Photo Shoot

A Brazilian model named Nana Gouvea is the latest person to feel the scorn of the Internet. After Hurricane Sandy plowed through New York City this past week, Gouvea decided that the wreckage presented the perfect opportunity to further her career. Going out into the devastation with her husband as a photographer, she posed for a photo shoot amidst downed trees and smashed cars. She then shared the resulting portraits through her Facebook page.

Needless to say, people didn’t respond very positively to the pictures. They quickly went viral, but in a bad way.

Her photographs became the subject of critical news articles across the world. Gawker also used them for a tongue-in-cheek “Guide to Posing for Glamour Shots in the Aftermath of a Devastating Natural Disaster.”

Her Facebook account containing the photographs has since been taken offline [Update: It’s back up again].

The images also spawned a new Internet meme. People began Photoshopping Gouvea into various photographs of disasters and human suffering. A Facebook page called “Nana Gouvêa em Desastres” quickly attracted thousands of Likes, and a dedicated Tumblr page popped up as well.

Gouvea definitely succeeded in getting her face and name in front of people’s eyes, but we’re guessing it’s not exactly the kind of publicity she was hoping to achieve. Unless this meme quickly dies off, Gouvea portrait may soon be synonymous with “disaster” in Internet culture.

Update: Gouvea has released a video response to the controversy, offering her explanation of the images.

Thanks for sending in the tip, Gismarina!

Image credits: Photographs by Nana Gouvea

  • Keith D

    Poor idea in bad taste, bad poses, and terrible photographs. Trying to further your career on others misfortune. Looks like she is all looks and no brain.

  • Tommy Sar

    I’m more bothered by the terrible photography. Atrocious.

  • jusuff12

    why are the /%%&in mods here filtering my comment?

    you are part of the hypocrisy……

  • dodgee

    damn those photos are obviously not a pro photog!!!

  • quickpick

    it’s shear hippocracy to slam the girl for such innocent exploitation of results of natural phenomena when there were no actual human victims or suffering used as background. such a lame idea to pick her for applying diverse aesthetics in her modeling portfolio..

    get real slammers and raise your eyebrows on politicians showing up at catastrophy sites, pretending to be concerned, or whatever on media to raise their profile and polish their public image! now that’s what i call ruthless exploitaton of the innocent victims! :D

  • wickerprints

    It says something about the husband’s photographic skills when I think the photoshopped parodies are conceptually better than his shots. The “Cast Away” one really had me laughing!

  • Per Bay Simonsen

    It’s kind of ironic that the persons slamming her has her Photoshopped into a movie that has made 2.2 billion dollars based on the death of 1500 people…

  • Gobeyondfear

    She has only done what the president Obama has been doing.

  • Anatole

    In Brasil we have a say (free translation):

    “Speak well or speak ill, but speak of me!”

    I can’t stop laughing at it! Don’t get me wrong, I’m laughing at her “idea” of good shot, not at the disaster.

  • wickerprints

    The main problem I have is that these photos are just so technically awful. They look so obviously amateurish. No attention to composition, subject-background relationships, use of light; no control of depth of field demonstrated; obvious problems with flash exposure; inadequate or nonexistent model direction; etc. And to call her a “model” based on these images is about as appropriate as calling her husband a professional photographer.

    So, in the context of the execution of the photography, one has to wonder what they were thinking in the first place. If you want to do a concept like this, then at least have the talent to do it PROPERLY, unless you want to be ridiculed as being obnoxious, self-serving wannabes.

    But you do raise a good point with the exploitation of natural disasters as an opportunity to gain publicity.

  • wickerprints

    Now you just went way over the line. If releasing federal funds to help affected cities recover more quickly and to provide aid to victims is a form of exploitation for publicity, then I suppose you’d have the President sit back and remain completely silent and do nothing. But then you’d accuse him of doing nothing. So it’s obvious that whatever he does or does not do, you will find some way to use it as an excuse to condemn him.

    And the last time I checked, neither this woman nor her husband have any kind of governmental authority or power to enact disaster relief or recovery efforts.

  • wickerprints

    Maybe if you stopped posting under multiple different names and stopped swearing and, oh, i don’t know, stopped inserting your political biases in a photography blog….

  • Trausti Hraunfjörð

    … but when presidents and mayors and other “officials” pose for photos of disaster areas, it is considered to be nothing but normal and good and caring and fine.

    The hypocrisy and sheepishness in people is amazing.

  • Trausti Hraunfjörð

    … but when presidents and mayors and other “officials” pose for photos of disaster areas, it is considered to be nothing but normal and good and caring and fine.

    The hypocrisy and sheepishness in people is amazing.

  • diddybond

    Some people have nothing better to complain about, i think they are great, good opportunity taken me thinks.

  • Felipe

    To put this in perspective, it should be said that this girl has been mocked in Brazil for several years now, as she continuously tries to get media attention in the most obnoxious ways possible, ever since she made some Playboy spreads back in 1996.

  • Phil Erskine

    Those photos look balls.

  • Godsbod

    A photo opportunity is a photo opportunity… too many people in the PC brigade wanting a lovely safe trouble free existence with no victims, no losers, everyone just another cell in the great amorphous blob… I for one think too many people become victims of hate campaigns by people that need to have a close look at their own behavior and judge what they are actually gaining by it…

  • jessamineny

    So her FB account is back up, and she’s linking to/celebrating all the articles that are calling her an ass. “Denmark!!!” “China!!!” Etc. : /

  • Jonathan Maniago

    Even without the element of disaster, I don’t see how she thought that these shots could further her career given that the lighting and framing are terrible.

  • lk243l32423423423

    petapixel is part of the hippocracy.
    they put images of the storm online because they want to attract attention.

  • Obama

    maybe just shut up idiot?

  • Obama

    and of petapixel…..

  • 3ric15

    If your going to take pictures in middle of wreckage from a hurricane at least make the poses look good and compose the image correctly! They don’t even look good!

  • Mansgame

    I’m ok with it. People deal with tragedies in different ways. Life goes on.

  • Andréa Azevedo

    What a shame thing, and Im shame to be brasilian this time, that model is not a famous model , is simply an ordinary woman who wants to take advantage of all this media! A shame!!!!

  • quiop

    And you care because???

  • Tracker

    Chupacabra. Oh, my bad, I meant to call you a Stupacabra. Legendary stupidity – check! Elusive and mythical as a troll – check! Sucks on Internet forums – check! Appears and disappears at random under many guises – check! Yes, you are the ever elusive Stupacabra!

  • NotTheSame

    One is a vain attempt at creating portfolio images to sell oneself to modelling agencies. The other is editorial photos used in the Fifth Estate to provide news to the world.

    Congratulations, you’re an idiot.

  • Johnny5

    Are you a pro photog? I hear they all comment on petapixel these days…

  • Johnny5

    Officials sometimes pose and pretend that they are actually helping when they are not, just jumping right back on that plane to show face at the next stop. That is a thousand times worse than a few modelling shots that didn’t hurt a soul. For all you know she could be helping tremendously. You people are sheep and bullies.

  • Smarty

    That was photoshoppped?

  • Johnny5

    How do you know they’re not helping? Oh yeah… you don’t . Bahhhh baaaaahhhhh.

  • Per Bay Simonsen

    I hope so, If not she’s just about the best hundred year old i’ve ever seen!!

  • HappyJew

    If the pictures were good, people probably wouldn’t be so mad. Also I think some people don’t know any Jews. We like to laugh in the face of devastation, because how else do you deal with some of the crap that comes through our lives. I’m so sick of the, that was to soon crap. If it’s funny in a few weeks, it’s funny now. People need to get over themselves and laugh in the face of horrible situations. It’s actually quite healing.

  • Charlie

    Absolutely!!! On Spot my friend!!! Exactly what I thought

  • Jake

    All global media agencies do the same thing. Maybe nobody should ever report on disasters because it would be considered exploitation.

  • Johnny5

    Dude I see where you’re coming from but Petapixel posts photography news. That is their business. When half the photo world turns catty and sheepish to attack a single individual… guess what: that’s news! Give them a break.

  • Felix Woodcock

    lmao let her live !

  • Johnny5


  • Michael Zhang

    wickerprints is right. We have a number of automatic filters that flags certain comments and requires them to be approved prior to being made public. we also blacklist spammers and trolls

  • Kole Montross

    Out of curiousity, who here has a problem with the photographers who are out shooting the disaster? Not the journalists who are working for press. Just all the rest. Making pretty time lapse videos. And artistic shots. Building their books with shots during and after the storm.

    I have already seen hundreds of composites that are not any attempt at historical preservation or journalistic reporting- they are simply trying to make pretty pictures. Is that wrong too? They probably plan to sell them at art shows or on etsy or to galleries. Use them in promotional portfolios. I really do want to know why no one is ragging on them.

  • Jared

    The problem isn’t photographing a disaster; It’s contextual. Photojournalism is fine, because people around the world want to see what’s happening here. But fashion photography? Fashion = glamor = decadence. It’s poor taste to pretend to be living large while others are losing everything.

  • Not Forest

    As Forest Gump would say, “Stupid is as stupid does”. Human being are well know for doing stupid crap all the time ( example given, the election of George W. Bush) and they will continue to do so until we become extinct. Did she have the right to create these images? Yes. Was it a good idea? Hell no! Does she have a big chance of becoming a supermodel? IMHO, not a chance. Especially if she continues to use her husband as her photographer. These, as others have mentioned, are just snap shots and reflect the photographers creative use of the “P” function on the camera (P does stand for professional, doesn’t it?). As a working professional photographer for almost 37 years, i feel that these images are lacking in all the areas mentioned by others. Having taught Photoshop to other professional photographers from Maine to Alaska, I find the image manipulation in these images lacking in both technical, and creative ability.

  • wow

    hippocracy. awesome.

  • Richard Lurie

    I know! Maybe she thinks any publicity is good publicity…

  • jesseyardley

    People need to chill. Nuff said.

  • brandon

    the internet is slamming her? i’d slam her. that’s right. the photos aren’t very interesting, or good, but she’s getting her image out there, for better or worse.

  • maurita howard

    My problem is that the photos are not that good.

  • Neoracer Xox

    fukin hot!!!