Paulo's Feed
May 21, 2010
via Photographers' Blog

Land of the living dead


It was one early March morning in 2007 while on my way to shoot an assignment in the Portuguese Language Museum that I found myself amidst a mass of people consuming crack in the heart of Sao Paulo. I had stumbled onto Cracolândia, or Crackland, and the party was one of the living dead. I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of people openly consuming the drug at such an early hour, oblivious to the flow of pedestrians heading to work in this megalopolis.

(Multimedia best viewed full screen)

I immediately thought that this was a story that had to be told. I needed to show the reality of life for these addicts and alert residents of the local government’s indifference to this problem in the very heart of their city. In spite of a program by City Hall and the state government for neighborhood renewal, crack is consumed freely 24 hours a day. The police appear to expel consumers from the zone, herding them like cattle to nearby streets where they continue to exercise their vice. The abuse of crack in Crackland has increased day by day in Sao Paulo and Brazil.

    • About Paulo

      "Paulo is a native Paulistano by birth. He worked at jobs ranging from water polo referee to pizza chef in his own beachside pizza kiosk in Rio de Janeiro, before beginning his career as photojournalist in 1982 at the Folha de Sao Paulo. He went on to study journalism and joined Reuters in 1998, based in Sao Paulo. He's a veteran photographer of World Cups and Olympics, and has covered a wide range of political and general news."
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