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Sao Paulo Metro Surveillance and Security

February 12, 2009

I spent some time on the Sao Paulo metro system yesterday so I tried to get some pictures of security and surveillance underground… Some things I would have loved to have got pictures of: the military policemen stalking a groups of favela kids through the crowds; the very tired and twitchy officer who looked to be absolutely itching for a fight, who got on the Metro after me; the perfect shot of two policemen standing under a camera. But I didn’t get those ones, so my words will have to do. The main reason is that I have a healthy instinct for self-preservation and taking pictures of men with guns – particularly when they are caressing the handgrip and trigger like it was an intimate part of their anatomy as the twitchy officer was – is a sure way to end up attracting unwelcome and possibly fatal attention. The officers in the stations did notice me taking pictures pretty quickly too – which perhaps suggests both the pervasiveness and the effectiveness of trained human surveillance. Anyway, I only have two shots, one of which was an experiment in a longer take, which didn’t quite come off so I might have to try this again…

I am sure I will have more to say today tomorrow on this after I have met up with Marta Kanashiro, the scholar of surveillance studies from the State University of Campinas.

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