Nadia Shira Cohen
Nadia Shira Cohen was born in Boston in 1977, with a great curiosity for the world and the unknown.
Nadia's creativity was first nurtured by her parents, both artists in their own right. At the age of 15 Nadia received her first camera and began exploring documenting the world around her.
She continued to pursue her passion for photography at the University of Vermont, with a semester abroad at the SACI school in Florence, Italy
Naturally her curious nature led her into photojournalism. Nadia started working as a photographer in New York City shortly after finishing her undergraduate studies, primarily as a independent photographer for the Associated Press. Feeling the need to understand the underworld of the photojournalism industry, Nadia began working for Sipa Press at their office in New York, where she began to represent the work of the agencies most talented documentary photographers.
In 2005 Nadia went on to work at the world renowned photo agency, VII with some of the worlds most talented and compassionate photojournalists. After initially joining the New York office, Nadia became the Director of North American Sales and Assignments and then went on to become Director of Special Projects.
In the summer of 2007 Nadia fulfilled her dream of moving to Rome, Italy where she continues with a creative spirit, to tell stories of the lives of people who interest her and which she compassionately feels the need to expose.
A Private War Among Brothers
Police and Drug Traffickers in Rio De Janeiro are born into the same poverty, they are often raised together, share the same neighborhoods, frequent the same parties, and even in several cases are either friends or family members. They are fighting a war against each other fueled by drugs and a lack of government support and basic services inside the poor favela communities of Rio. Many police officers born in and who continue to live inside the favela, often do so because they cannot afford to move out into a better neighborhood. With very low wages almost 95% of Military and Civil Police officers of Rio hold second or sometimes even third jobs to support their families and many live in violent neighborhoods, sometimes even controlled by drug lords. This lack of compensation creates an easy environment as well as a tolerance for corruption and police involvement in drug trafficking. Brazilian police officers, specifically in Rio De Janeiro have a long history of brutality and corruption yet very rarely has the reality of this violent war been revealed. Police intervention within favelas is limited to violent operations carried out in war flanked tanks and heavy machine guns. As a result the drug lords have taken it upon themselves to provide a sense of protection and authority for the people living inside the favela communities. They see themselves as vigilantes of their people, giving medicine to young single mothers who cannot afford it as well as litigating domestic disputes. Both police and drug traffickers come from environments that have offered them very little by way of opportunity and have found themselves on opposite sides of the fence in an escalating gun battle that has taken the lives of thousands of young boys and men in the past 20 years and continues with no end in site.