About/Contact  Rafael Vilela is an independent Brazilian...


Rafael Vilela is an independent Brazilian photographer currently reporting on climate and economic crisis in his country. He was one of the founders of Midia NINJA, an initiative that today has more than 8 million followers. His photographs are part of São Paulo’s Museum of Modern Art (MAM-SP) permanent collection. In 2014 he was invited by Magnum Photos to be one of the Brazilian photographers in the OffSide Brazil project to report on the World Cup. Rafael was also nominated for World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass in 2013, 2014 and 2015. He has collaborated on international publications such as The Washington Post, The Guardian, VICE, The Intercept and National Geographic. In 2020 he was selected by National Geographic's Emergency Fund for Journalists covering Covid-19 and his work with Covid Latam won the POYLatam and the FotoEvidence Book Award with World Press Photo.

Fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
Currently in São Paulo, Brazil, available for assignments.
vilelaovilela@gmail.com  +55 11 998801420


2022 Leica Oskar Barnack Award nominee
2022 New York Times Portfolio Review
2021 World Press Photo FotoEvidence Book Award winner
2021 PoyLatam 1st Place winner in 'Best Use of Online Photography'
2020 National Geographic Emergency Fund Grantee
2015 WorldPress Photo Joop Swart nominee
2014 WorldPress Photo Joop Swart nominee
2014 Magnum Photos and Instituto Moreira Salles ‘OffSide Brazil Project’ photographer
2013 WorldPress Photo Joop Swart nominee
2011 Prix de La Photographie Paris (PX3) Portraiture winner
2010 'River Forests' photo contest winner, 2nd place


2021 Speaker at New York Art Book Fair. Online.
2021 Speaker at Bronx Documentary Center. Online.
2020 Workshop teacher at CANON TALKS, at Canons College Brazil. Online.
2020 Speaker at “Por Dentro de Um Tempo Suspenso”, organized by Festival de Fotografia de Tiradentes, Foto Rio, Festival Solar and Doc Galeria. Online.
2020 Speaker at Paranapiacaba Photography Festival. Online.
2020 Speaker at FestFotoPoa. Online.
2016 Speaker and workshop teacher, Foto Museo Cuatro Caminos, Mexico City, Mexico.
2014 Speaker and workshop teacher, Bienal de Fotografia da Argentina. Tucuman, Argentina.
2014 Speaker at Re-Publica meeting,  Berlin, Germany.
2014 Speaker at SKUP Conference - Norwegian Foundation for Investigative Journalism conference, Tønsberg, Norway.
2013 Teacher at Porto Alegre International Photography  Festival, Porto Alegre - RS.
2013 Speaker at TEDx,  Florianópolis, Santa Catarina - SC, Brazil.
2013 Speaker at International Photography Festival Paraty in Foco, Paraty - RJ, Brazil.  


2021 Les Rencontres de la photographie, Arles, France. Exhibiting “Rituels Photographiques / Rituels de Resistance - Photo Documentaire Bresilienne”,
2021 Centro de La Fotografia de Montevideo. Exhibiting “En vilo. Una narración colectiva sobre el coronavirus en Latinoamérica” with CovidLatam Collective at Fotogalería Parque Rodó.
2017 Instituto Moreira Salles IMS Opening. Exhibiting the "Corpo a Corpo", 168 livestreaming hours from 2013 to 2017 protests and social strugles in Brazil. November 2017, São Paulo.
2014 Paris Photo Festival. Exhibiting the Off Side Brazil Project with Magnum Photos. November 2014. Paris, France.
2014 Alessandro Del Piero Gallery. The #OffSide Brazil Project with Magnum Photos. Turin, Italy.
2014 6th Argentina Photography Biennial. Exhibiting the series The Other World Cup. Tucuman, Argentina.
2014 São Paulo Museum of Modern Art - MAM. Exhibiting the series June’s Streets with Eder Chiodetto as a Curator. April 2014. São Paulo - SP.
2014 SENAC Lapa Scipião. Photographer and Curator, exhibiting the series June’s Streets together with other 12 new generation brazilian photojournalists with DOC Gallery and SENAC, São Paulo, 2014.
2013 Paraty em Foco International Festival. Exhibiting the series June’s Streets with Claudi Carreras Guillen curation - November 2013. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
2009 Federal University of Santa Catarina Hall. Exhibiting the series Bolívia Viva, Florianópolis, Brazil.
2007 Centro Cultulao Solo Exhibition, Exhibiting the series Utopia. Piracicaba, Brazil


2021 Attendance at multiple lectures and workshops at VII ACADEMY. Online.
2021 Attendance at Eder Chiodeto’s editing and curatorial Phography Workshop. Online.
2020 Attendance at Riesgo Cruzado safety risk training for journalists. Online.
2018 Attendance at Nair Benedicto documentary photography workshop, NINJA LAB, São Paulo
2015 Attendance at Mauricio Lima documentary photography workshop, Casa FDE-SP, São Paulo
2014 Attendance at Barbaros Kayan documentary photography workshop, Casa FDE-SP, São Paulo.
2011 Attendance at Claudi Carrera’s editing and visual narratives Workshop,  Floripa Na Foto Festival, Florianópolis
2011 Attendance at Pieter Hugo’s Documentary Photography Workshop, Paraty em Foco Festival, Paraty
2010 Attendance at Eder Chiodetto’s curatorial Workshop, Floripa Na Foto Festival  Florianópolis.
2009 Attendance at multiple portifolio lectures, Porto Alegre International Phototography Festival.
2008 Incompleted Bachelor of Graphic Design at Santa Catarina Federal University, Florianópolis.
2007 Attendance at Valdemir Cunha’s Documental and Trip Photography Workshop, São Paulo.
2006 Macromedia Web Publisher Editor one year Masterclass, Senac, São Paulo.

Rafael Vilela

Rafael Vilela is an independent Brazilian photographer currently reporting on social injustice and the environmental crisis in his country. He was one of the founders of Midia NINJA, an initiative that today has more than 8 million followers.
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