A Brazilian photographer reveals the humanity of those living in his country’s largest slum, provoking us to look deeper at the roots of the drug trade and urban violence.
The sprawling slums of Brazil—known as favelas—are often portrayed as lawless havens populated by violent criminals. There are not many journalists or artists who have devoted their work to finding out what is actually happening within these marginalized spaces. Photographer Andre Cypriano is an exception. A native of Brazil, Cypriano has studied some of the world’s biggest slums, including the famous Rocinha shantytown in Rio de Janeiro. Armed with only his camera, he reveals the humanity of those who have made lives amid precarious circumstances. This short film follows the photographer into the favelas and shows Cypriano's faith in the power of his medium. As the artist says, “Photography is a weapon; it’s transformative. It’s capable of things that real weapons cannot do.”