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I'm a non-professional photographer looking to visit Rio and possibly Sao Paulo, I'm interested in shooting the life in the favellas but understand that it is a rather risky proposition in terms of chances of getting robbed or worse.

How should I go about arranging a "fixer" who will accompany me, communicate with the locals, help me navigate situations etc. while avoiding the more shady hustlers and "poverty porn" tour operators. ?

Is hiring an off-duty plain clothes police officer a viable option ?

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Hiring a police officer to show you around a Rio favela sounds like a terrible idea to me. The police is currently not viewed benignly by most residents of Rio's favelas. Context.

If you are not a journalist yourself, and/or have no contacts you could reach out to, you could try starting here, here or here.

That said, starting with a favela tour would probably not be a bad idea. I hear good things about the Santa Marta tour (which might be this one) and this one seems to be well-respected, too.

Perhaps it doesn't need to be said, but "shooting the life in the favellas" can quickly become "poverty porn".

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