Amazônia by Tommaso Protti | Carmignac Award

In the light of this year’s devastating events in South America, the 10th Carmignac Photojournalism Award is dedicated to the Amazon, the deforestation and all the issues related to it.
Tommaso Protti
© Tommaso Protti for Fondation Carmignac Araribóia, Maranhão. Members of the Guajajara forest guard patrolling the Araribóia indigenous reserve in Maranhão State beat another indigenous man whom they suspect of collaborating with illegal loggers.

In the light of this year’s devastating events in South America, the 10th Carmignac Photojournalism Award is dedicated to the Amazon, the deforestation and all the issues related to it.

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 Carmignac Photojournalism Award funds annually the production of an investigative photo reportage on human rights violations, and geostrategic issues in the world.

This year’s Award has been given to Tommaso Protti, an Italian photojournalist. From January to July 2019, Protti  and the British journalist Sam Cowie travelled thousands of miles across the Brazilian Amazon to put together this reportage.

“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. I believe it is important to raise awareness of this situation and question it.” – Tommaso Protti

The Amazon is a vast region that covers nine nations: Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. The region has a surface area of 5,500,000 km2 and is crossed by the Amazon river, the second longest river in the world and the largest by volume of water. The Amazon alone accounts for half of the remaining tropical forests on the planet and it is home to 70% of the world’s biodiversity and to one in ten of the world’s species. Not only, but this territory is home to 30 million people, including 350 indigenous groups, most of whom live in their natural habitats. Unfortunately, the development of economic activities in the region mean that the Amazonian ecosystem is under more threat than ever before. Since 1999, at least 2,200 new species have been discovered in the Amazon, but with 17% of the Amazon’s surface area already destroyed, the rainforest is increasingly vulnerable.

Responsibility for the destruction of this important and fragile natural environment lies with climate change and also human activity.

Tommaso Protti
©Tommaso Protti for Fondation Carmignac
Grajau, Maranhão. A deforested area in the southern Maranhão State seen from the helicopter of IBAMA, Brazilian Institute of the Environment and
Renewable Natural Resources. Maranhão is one of the worst affected by forest fires and illegal logging, and has lost 75% of its Amazon forest cover. The Amazon rainforest is losing the equivalent of a football pitch of forest cover every minute. Scientists say it is reaching a tipping point: if deforestation continues upward, the forest may never recover.

From the eastern region of Maranhão to the western region of Rondônia, through the states of Pará and Amazonas, these two photojournalists portray everyday life in the Brazilian Amazon, a place where social and humanitarian crises overlap with the destruction of the world’s most important rainforest.

The exhibition of this year’s Carmignac Award will take place at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie and on the Hôtel de Ville gates in Paris from December 4th, 2019 through February 14, 2020.

It will be accompanied by a bilingual French-English catalogue co-published by Fondation Carmignac and Reliefs Editions: Amazônia, Life and Death in the Brazilian Rainforest, with a preface by Stéphen Rostain, archaeologist, Research Director for the CNRS, and foreword by journalist Sam Cowie.

Tommaso Protti
©Tommaso Protti for Fondation Carmignac
Araribóia, Maranhão. A member of the Guajajara forest guard in a moment of sad silence at the sight of a toppled tree cut down by suspected illegal
loggers on the Araribóia indigenous reserve in Maranhão State. With deep cuts to Brazil’s environmental and indigenous protection bodies in recent years, tribespeople across the Amazon are increasingly forming vigilantes.

Who is the man behind the lens? Tommaso Protti is born in Italy in 1986. He lives and works in São Paulo, Brazil. He started his career as a photographer in 2011 after graduating in Political Science and International Relations. His work has been exhibited internationally at The Royal Albert Hall (London), Greenwich Heritage Centre (Woolwich, UK), Benaki Museum (Athens), MACRo (Rome), 10b Photography gallery (Rome), Fotoleggendo festival (Rome), Les Rencontres d’Arles festival (France), Prix Bayeux- Calvados des Correspondants de guerre festival (France), Belfast Photo festival (Ireland), C40 Mayors Summit (Mexico City), UN COP 22 (Marrakesh, Morocco), PARTE Contemporary Art Fair (São Paulo, Brazil). His photographs have been published in major titles including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time, National Geographic, The New Yorker, The Guardian, The Independent, Le Monde, Corriere della Sera, among others. He also works with international organizations such as the United Nations. Tommaso is a member of Angustia.

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