In 2008 I decided to return to Brazil to take up residence, where previous years had been already here, in the city of Natal, in the state of Rio Grande do Norte, the city that I love not only for its natural beauty, but for its excellent climate and the fact having had a good job opportunity. Five years later, in August 2013, on the 28th, around 6pm, when there was a major blackout in the brazilian northeast, I was shooting for a news agency on the avenue ayrton senna in Natal when I was approached by two men with helmets on a motorcycle, where one of them pointed a gun at me and asked me the photographic material. I had no choice but to surrender everything. I had a body and a lens, and the respective memory card containing all the work.
Thank God the most important is that nothing happened to me. I immediately called the police but unfortunately not given me much attention because I had the misfortune also almost the entire state the police were on strike. I had received the new equipment three months before, and had not yet made the insurance. As I am a freelancer, agencies do not cover the risks that we have at work, or do not pay the insurance. I no longer hope to recover the equipment that makes me really miss to work. I can not afford to buy new equipment that cost me a few years to buy. Since then I have worked with a much older machine that was purchased in 2004 and hardly used it because the image quality is much lower than the more modern machines of today, so I stopped being able to do several important works, so much depend equipment. It was the first time I was robbed in my life. I am seriously thinking about returning to Portugal because Natal is unfortunately no longer the quiet town that was 15 years ago. Today I can not leave the street carefree. I have to put money and bank cards hidden in my underwear, always walk on busy streets and go home early because the violence has increased dramatically. Unfortunately photojournalism in Brazil also not right, agencies, newspapers and magazines do not pay insurance for the use of our own equipment as well as wages and pictures prices are very low in most of the country.
What happened to me I will never forget. It was the most terrifying 10 seconds I’ve had in my 40 years of life.
The messages I have received from my friends are very important because they give me courage and strength to continue this difficult profession.
This makes me feel very proud of being part of the photojournalism community. I decided to launch this crowd-funding campaign, in order to try to gather the much needed funds to be able to at least buy part of the gear that was stolen, so I can keep on working.
I can assure you that all the contributions will go directly toward buying new equipment. I can say thank you very much in advance for the best vibrations and helping to spread the word.