The 10th Carmignac Photojournalism Award is dedicated to the Amazon and the issues related to its deforestation. It is chaired by Yolanda Kakabadse, Minister of the Environment of Ecuador between 1998 and 2000 and President of WWF from 2010 to 2017. The Award was awarded to Tommaso Protti. From January to July 2019, Italian photojournalist Tommaso Protti, accompanied by British journalist Sam Cowie, travelled thousands of miles across the Brazilian Amazon to create this reportage. From the eastern region of Maranhão to the western region of Rondônia, through the states of Pará and Amazonas, they portrayed life in modern day Brazilian Amazon, where social and humanitarian crises overlap with the ongoing destruction of the rainforest.
In August 2020, Tommaso Protti went back to the Amazon to document the fires that were raging again. Traveling along BR-163, the controversial road built in the 1970s during the dictatorship to open up the jungle to colonization, he also investigated the impact of Covid-19 on indigenous communities living in the area.
“I wanted to illustrate the social transformations, focusing on the veiled truth of the bloodshed and destruction that are currently taking place in the region. These diverse forms of violence are the consequences of changes in the global market, as well as of the exponential increase of global consumption, from cocaine to beef. Scientists claim the forest is reaching a point of no return because of deforestation, fuelled by illegal logging, and because of land grabbing, agricultural expansion, state and private sectors led development and resource extraction projects. I believe it is important to raise awareness of this situation and question it.”
“With photojournalist Tommaso Protti, we embark on a journey to the heart of the crisis. His work is a candid look at the diverse landscapes and lives among the world’s last great tropical forest. (…) We get to meet indigenous activists who fight to protect the forest for future generations. We also witness the destruction caused by loggers, land grabbers and miners who exploit the region’s riches for their own profit. The pictures take us to the Amazon’s urban metropolises, where warring drug gangs kill to get control over the cocaine trade, and where desperate Venezuelans fleeing the civil conflict live in makeshift camps. We meet peasant activists who risk their life resisting the aggressive advance of agricultural bounds. We get to understand the huge damage inflicted to traditional river communities, consequences of state-led mega-projects such as hydroelectric dams. (…) Finally, Tommaso Protti’s work offers a glimpse at everyday life in one of the planet’s most extraordinary regions:
people date, go to parties, worship and try to enjoy life, just like anywhere else.”
Carmignac Photojournalism Award 10th edition – The Amazon
Tommaso Protti : Amazônia
June 8 – July 18, 2021
The Saatchi Gallery
Duke of York’s HQ
King’s Road London SW3 4RY