Violence in Rio de Janeiro (29 photos)

This is one of the most powerful photojournalistic sets I've ever seen. Portuguese photographer João de Carvalho Pina positions himself so close to the action, it's feels like we're right in the middle of the drama.

“The metropolitan area of Rio de Janeiro with about 10 million people is one of the most violent cities in the world where an average of 18 people a day are killed by gunfire for the past 20 years,” says Pina, who started working as a photographer at the age of 18.

“A mix of indiscriminate force used by the local police, a gigantic drug trafficking market and illegal gambling, along with huge corruption levels on the police and politician community are the raw ingredients for one of the biggest security problems of the globe.”

“About 3 million live on the so-called ‘favelas,' the slums located on the hilltops of the city and on mainly on the northern and eastern suburbs of the city. The police operated on a daily basis in most of the most then 800 favelas of Rio, to try to arrest and kill local drug dealers, seize guns and drugs, but in the end of the day the civilians who live in the middle of this urban chaos are usually the victims of crossfire, police repression and the ‘movimento' (local name for the drug trafficking business).”

“I decided to start documenting this reality because I was driven into a curiosity of what took the city to get into this extreme of violence that happens today. I had the chance to be on the side of different police units while doing their work inside the slums, I had also the opportunity to follow and document the side of young men with an average age of 18, being the bosses of communities because they are drug traffickers in a territory whee the Brazilian state simply doesn't exist, so sometimes they replace it, providing neighbors with food, medicines, amongst other basic needs.”

Joo de Carvalho Pina's website

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