Voice of Brazil, Special edition for the Sunday Observer Magazine
"Having gone from poverty to parliament via Big Brother and Brazil's first gay-rights election platform, Jean Wyllys must rank among the most postmodern of politicians."
"Inês Ferreira de Abril's position in the community where she lives and works is halfway between guru and local hero. Walking through the tight red-brick maze of the Borel-Indiana favela, a poor settlement of some 20,000 just a 10-minute cab ride from Rio's Maracana Stadium, she is stopped every five minutes by well-wishers and those seeking advice."
"Major Pricilla – as she is best known – is the friendly, positive face of the pacification programme that she has helped to spearhead. She is in charge of hundreds of officers in one of the most violent police forces on the planet and is playing a prominent role in trying to shift perceptions of their tole."
It was exciting to receive a request from ESPN Magazine for two images in their latest issue and story about the protests in Brazil last June. Here's the backstory to this lede image:
A man reported to be a plainclothes police officer throws his gun into a bonfire in the street near the state assembly building, during a protest, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, June 17, 2013. He said, "To serve a State like this? I am ashamed. I am ashamed of everything we go through, everyday."
An image from my project on violence in Guatemala was featured in a poster and application for the Open Society Justice Initiative summer school session on human rights litigation. If you are interested in applying for this program, please click here: OSF
I am so thankful to Newsweek picture editor Leah Latella (who is also a rockin' folk singer and musician) for publishing my project, La Vida No Vale Nada, on the effects of violence in post-war Guatemala.
"Last year, there were 34.5 murders for every 100,000 people in the country. That’s a decreased rate from previous years, although the first half of 2013 actually showed an increasing number of murders. Violence still touches far too many lives in Guatemala, where nearly 100 people were murdered each week last year."
Please click on the link above to read the story and to the see the project.
"Over the Rainbow: What is it like to be gay around the world?" is a portrait series of people from around the world sharing their thoughts and opinions about the challenges (or not) of being gay in their country.
I photographed Bruna Costa, 27, a Carioca (a resident of Rio de Janeiro). Please click on the image or the link above to read about Bruna.
Story on the women pacification police in Rio de Janeiro.
Las Guerreras de las Favelas - "These women fought two fights: one against the crime and the another against sexism. Until 30 years ago women couldn't not be police officers in Rio de Janeiro, but now, after a long struggle, some of them lead the most ambitious operation to pacify the city."
Immigration stories are probably one of my most favored topic in journalism, and maybe its because I am the daughter of an immigrant parent. But I always discover the most incredible stories of families walking to the end of the earth to make a better life for themselves, something that goes beyond superficial comments of illegality. In my opinion, the issue is far more complicated then illegal immigration because to me, the point really is, to what extent of human survival does it take to make it in this world. It's certainly not easy journey for the families who come from afar to the United States.
I was fortunate to meet Renata's family in Criciuma, a town of 200,000 residents, in the beautiful state of Santa Catarina in Southern Brazil. Her older brother had a thick Boston accent, and the younger sister had a mild one. And during dinner, sitting at their dining room table made by the Portuguese community in Fall River, Mass., I would find myself forgetting that I was even in Brazil at that moment.
Its been an incredible couple weeks watching and photographing the awakening of social protests in Brazil, especial in Rio de Janeiro. Here's a dramatic image (cropped) of ab off-duty police officer disposing his empty guns into a street fire in Centro, and a cut-out of a young woman wearing the Brazilian flag, below.
Protests in Rio de Janeiro, and other major Brazilian cities began with a 20-cent hike in public transport fares, have now moved beyond that issue to widespread frustration about a heavy tax burden, corrupt politicians and weak public education, health and transport systems, as Brazil hosted the Confederations Cup soccer tournament last week, and now prepares for the Pope's visit in July.
I photographed Getulio Fidelis who was born in Rocinha, a community of 160,000 residents in the South Zone of Rio de Janeiro. Contrary to media stereotype, a favela is not a slum nor a shantytown. It is an informal, lower class community which developed its own unique culture. Fidelis currently lives in Santa Marta, a favela that was first pacified. He and his wife live in a 500-sq-ft, remodeled 2-level, one-bedroom home, complete with air-condition, two televisions, and his various Apple electronics. Fidelis is part of this emerging middle class. Fidelis was fortunate to be awarded a full-scholarship to attend university and also works at a successul ngo. "Because he had access to education, he was able to get a good job. Because he has a good job, he can now consume, fuelling demand and making others wealthier as well."
The 2/3 series on Rio's transformation. I'm lucky to have met one of the residents in Mage while I was working a unpacified favela and to pass his story to the Lulu, the NPR reporter, which eventually became the main issue of this piece. Pacification in the city of Rio is an ambitious project that challenges communites and the state to change in ways they haven't in decades. Trust is a fragile virture.
Back in October I was called to photograph a civil rights activist right here in my own city of San Francisco. It was a great honor to spend a day with him. Rev. Amos Brown studied under Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and was just only one of very few students to do so. Read story here: Civil Rights Crusader takes on Election by Jen Christensen.
I recently spent the afternoon with Rhiju Das, an assistant professor of biochemistry at Stanford University, and his team investigating RNA strands, the tiny molecules essential to life and central in the hunt for cures to diseases like cancer and AIDS. He is the co-creator of EteRNA, an online video game in which players solve puzzles that would behave in nature. Sounds complicated, and I totally do not get the whole thing but it's fascinating nonetheless. The game enables players to publish their findings in a scientific journal. The best part is that you don't have to have a background in the sciences to help solve these riddles which could lead to major medical breakthroughs.
To read more, click on the picture.
See slideshow below for the inner workings of EteRNA.
A very compelling story about Maria, a bright teenage immigrant from El Salvador, and a year in the life of a low-performing school by writer Kristina Rizga. This is certainly a story that a documentary photographer would love to work on longer than an afternoon's portrait shoot but I'm thankful to receive the opportunity to photograph the assignment and to meet Maria and Kristina. The challenge was not to show the face and personality of Maria. But to protect her identity, I gladly accepted challenge. We spent time walking the halls of her school at Mission High in San Francisco, photographing in various places, including in one of her classrooms, pictured here.
Everything You've Heard About Failing Schools is Wrong is an in-depth article about education reform, stereotypes and dedication.
For the New York Times and Bay Citizen...what a great assignment and program for these kids. I shot this in early December. I hope that more schools will develop hands-on, creative and innovative programs to help give disadvantage kids opportunities such as this. I'll just let you read the story by Trey Bundy, whom I've worked with a few times, and is a fantastic reporter. Here's the lede of the story, "For decades, teachers and school districts have battled truancy, struggling to engage students who cope with economic hardship, community strife, domestic violence and drug abuse. Some students avoid school because they are not interested or because they are being bullied. But since 2008, in part because of programs like those at Downtown, the San Francisco district’s chronic truancy has dropped by 31 percent."
Read the story here: On Land and in the Bay, Innovaction Tackles Truancy