Juan Pablo Bellandi – The Tale Nobody Tells

An officer points his finger as a capture signal of another individual during a night patrol in one of the slums in the city of Merida/Venezuela.

Juan Pablo Bellandi

The Tale Nobody Tells


My job as a Photographer of the pólice in Venezuela for more than two years has taught me through crude lessons to see myself as a policeman, with the particularity that I possess a camera.

Venezuela faces an extremely deep crisis; absurd and improbable situations occur. In a collective language we constantly repeat to ourselves and to others: how can one live like this?



But Venezuelan reality has other shores, tales that nobody tells. It is very difficult for the police to maintain public order. The government has diminished to almost zero all the supplies for the proper functioning of the department. There aren’t working tools, protective equipment, basic goods or spare parts for their vehicles. There aren’t any police cars or motorcycles for tracking and surveillance.

In addition, the poor salaries of the police officers worsen the situation, promoting a vicious cycle of corruption. Therefore, extracting money from citizens through non-legal practices becomes more profitable and necessary for police officers to achieve their survival and to provide for their families. This is considering a country where a day of work is not worth a single dollar, when converting to our currency.



After documenting crime on a daily basis, which is one of the main problems of my country I realized that there is a background story to which I have belonged and to which I owe as a photographer. It is the story of the uniformed people who stay behind the conflict, who are often called guilty, who have a life that we do not know and that are a fundamental part of the disaster in which we find ourselves.



What does it mean to be a policeman in a country as Venezuela? A country with a comatose economy, a destroyed health system and a sunken education system. Bluntly a country living a humanitarian crisis. Families, pressures, obligations, acting evilly, stealing, saving or not saving their own lives.


Short Bio

Juan Pablo Bellandi born in Mérida, Venezuela in 1990. Studying photography at the Escuela Argentina de Fotografía in Buenos Aires, majored in photojournalism. The political situation in his homeland is the theme of his long-term projects: ‘En la Intimidad con el Levantamiento’ (Intimate with the Uprising) documents the demonstrations of Venezuelans against their government. The serie was short-listed for the 2015 Ian Parry Scholarship, and was exhibited in London. In 2016 Juan Pablo was one of the 12 photographers as a finalist in the Leica Oskar Barnack Award with his work Chasing HAMPA. Also he won the mentorship grant of the first masterclass organized by MeMo Agency. In 2017 have been a nominee for the Joop Swart Masterclass of World Press Photo,his work have been published by The Sunday Times Magazine, Photonews Germany, Lensculture, LFI, Doc!Photomagazine, Sueddeutsche Zeitung among others..


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