Forget what newspapers say about Brazilian hooliganism. I've been seeing it and living it for years and I don't need to read or hear about it. Nobody needs to tell me how it is to be in a train or a bus with your mates when rivals attack. I myself have already lived it. Many times I've also had to run from from the police even though my photographer card was on my chest. Now I can say I understand these lads. Journalist and regular fans always ask me about football riots but I've never said a single word. Now I won't tell any stories but I'll show you what a Google search hasn't presented to you before.
In 2009 I started taking photos of football supporters. Since then I've got to know all kinds of fans, even the most hated ones: hooligans. As I got to know them what shocked me most was not the stories but the complete ignorance of journalists and the lack of preparation of authorities to deal with something that born so many years ago in the 60's.
Pre-arranged fights on social media is a lie. Saying they don't like football is a lie. Saying that they are bloody criminals is another lie. The truth is they have regular lives. They work. they study, they have families. They are engineers, drivers, lawyers or even businessmen. But there's something very important to understand; they're addicted to a specific adrenaline that they will only find at football riots. That's the point. Hooliganism is the real life version of the movie Fight Club. And like the movie, they just want to fight against those who also want it. Another similarity is that they don't want to kill. They want to punch and kick and then go back home to do it again next weekend. Unless one of them gets killed. In this case the laws of the streets prevail and they will want revenge, but I'm sure the same would happen outside of football. Nothing here comes from another world, it's just the reflex of a violent and intolerant society. You'll find cowardice and absurdity but also friendship and solidarity.
This work is a portrait of the Brazilian hooligan scene. Leaders and members of different groups contributed for the photos to show nothing else but reality. The main idea wasn't to defend anybody nor to glamorize the topic. The purpose of this essay is to demystify a scene and the thousands of "experts" who have no idea what really happens.
Gabriel Uchida is the editor of FOTOTORCIDA.