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Q. Sakamaki October 8, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Brazil.
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In Rocinha favela, gang members patrol the streets. Rio, 2007

Q. Sakamaki graduated with the MA in International Affairs from Columbia University. He has photographed New York’s political and social landscape, focusing on AIDS, homelessness, and street crime. He has covered  war-stories in Afghanistan, Israel/Palestine, Algeria, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Liberia, Sri Lanka, etc. The main objective of his work is to show how war affects ordinary civilians, particularly children. His photographs been published in Time, Newsweek, Life, Stern, and L’espresso, and have been exhibited in New York and Tokyo. Sakamaka has received numerous awards, including World Press Photo- 2007, Overseas Press Club (Olivier Rebbot – 2006), Pictures of The Year International- 2007, Days International Photojournalism Award- 2005 among others.  He has published three books, including “Palestine and just released a new one about New York’s East Village in the 1980’s. He is represented by Redux Pictures.

About the Photograph:

“This story depicts the life of favelas, or shantytowns, in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, as the communities are deteriorated by gang violence. In Rio, nearly each favela has its syndicate-with drug related activity- in more than 600 favelas in the metropolitan area. Gangs control each favela with the law of violence. They are so well armed and organized, that even the paramilitary Rio police force cannot easily step into the community. I started this project in 1998 and when I returned 10 years later, the favelas’ violent landscape had deteriorated even more. It took me so long to go back and resume this project because I was traumatized after almost being killed. Meanwhile, the Brazilian government and the international community have ignored the bloody tragedy of Rio’s  favelas and the violence continues. There are so many desperate youths in favelas. The gang members know that being in a gang can be fatal and consider themselves lucky if they live to 25.”

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