A photograph taken in 1971 shows a group of men, their hats
cocked slightly forward, leaning in toward each other. They
stand and sit close together, their eyes fixed on some small,
white, objects, barely visible in the blurry image. The straight-
downward shadows that the men cast tell us that the photog-
rapher captured them in the middle of the day. The police, it
seems, had an interest in following these men’s movements
and in taking repeated shots of them from far away, as we can
tell from the shallow depth of field. The square where the men
congregate, Praça Drummond, bears the name of the baron
who had built the zoo that once stood on that plot of land.∞
The locale of this photograph is a poignant coincidence,
although the police who captured these images in 1971 as part
of yet another campaign to end the jogo do bicho probably
did not consider that the men under surveillance stood and
sat on precisely the patch of land where the game had begun
nearly a century before. In the 1970s, as in the 1910s, men
and women, sitting on park benches in innumerable squares,
walking on sidewalks, and standing on corners throughout
Rio de Janeiro, still wrote tickets to the animal game.
Before granting permission to publish this image, the Pub-
lic Archive of the State of Rio de Janeiro, which holds the
police surveillance files of which it is a part, imposed a condi-
tion: the head of each person represented had to be blotted
out. It mattered little that, as it turned out, the men in the
photograph were just playing a game of dominoes in the park:
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