One of Tama’s iconic photos from the Olympic games was from the Mangueira favela that overlooked the Maracaña stadium, the site for opening and closing ceremonies. Tama photographed the fireworks from a resident rooftop on the night of opening ceremonies.
“To witness the contrast of the grand fireworks display exploding over Maracaña from the makeshift rooftop of a humble resident, summed up quite a bit,” Tama said.
“Most residents of Mangueira said they saw essentially no benefit from the games beyond an occasional, low-paying, vending job during the two weeks of the games,” Tama said.
Tama said he never had an “average” day covering the Olympics in Rio. Now, he focuses on long-term stories with the support of his Getty colleagues. His experience in Brazil was enlightening. Tama said he was treated with a great deal of respect, openness, and hospitality as a foreign journalist.
However, he did say Rio can be a dangerous place for journalists, especially local Brazilian reporters.Violence is common as the subjects of stories on corruption turn violently against journalists, sometimes even resulting in the murder of reporters. Protests and battles between gangs and police can make also it a dangerous environment. In 2015, Tama was a protest where a television photojournalist was killed after being struck in the head by a small rocket.
Despite these obstacles, Tama believes reporting these stories is important.
“As photojournalists we need to remember we carry a powerful methodology which can provide a voice to the voiceless. I will always believe that,” said Tama.