Chronicling Rio de Janeiro’s Great Social Crisis

Juxtaposing scenes of daily life with regular crime scenes in the so-called Marvellous City, João Pina’s long-term photo essay 46750 offers a portrait of the darker consequences of Brazil’s pre-2012 economic boom.


In 2007 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil started an enormous transformation process in preparation for hosting both the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and the 2016 Summer Olympic games. With a favourable economy thanks to a surge in the prices of commodities Brazil produces, the country made a huge investment in sports infrastructure. However the investment in public services such as housing, health and security, was minimal. In 2016, while the world watched the Olympics, homicides went up by 20 percent and robbery went up more than 40 percent, according to the Public Safety Institute of Rio de Janeiro.

The question that remains is: why is bankruptcy the price to pay for bringing major sports events to cities? 46750 is a visual account of what the last 10 years in Rio de Janeiro has looked like, a portrait of the so-called Marvellous City, with all its contrasts and complexities. 46,750 is also the number of homicides that occurred in Rio de Janeiro’s metropolitan area between 2007 and 2016; that’s an average of 13 homicides per day.

Words and Pictures by João Pina.







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João Pina is a Portuguese freelance photographer. He began working as a professional photographer at the age of 18, and graduated from the International Center of Photography’s Photojournalism and Documentary Photography program in New York in 2005. Pina’s photographs have been published in D Magazine, Days Japan, El Pais, Expresso, GEO, La Vanguardia, New York Times, New Yorker, Newsweek, Stern, Time, and Visão, among others.

He has published three books, “Por teu livre pensamento”, Assírio & Alvim, 2007, portraying 25 former political prisoners from Portugal; “CONDOR”, Tinta-da-china/Blume/Ed. Sous-sol, 2014, about the military dictatorships in South America in the 1970’s; and “46750” Tinta-da-china/Loco/FotoEvidence, 2018, about the endemic violence in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

He was a Nieman fellow at Harvard University 2017-2018 and a faculty member at the International Center of Photography in New York.

You can follow João on PHmuseum and buy his book 46750 here.

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This feature is part of Story of the Week, a selection of relevant projects from our community handpicked by the PHmuseum curators.

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