rainforest

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Photography

A Mammoth New Book Takes an Immersive and Intimate Journey Through the Brazilian Amazon

May 25, 2021

Grace Ebert

The rain is so intense in Serra do Divisor National Park that it looks like an atomic mushroom cloud. State of Acre, 2016. All images © Sebastião Salgado, courtesy of Taschen, shared with permission

Photographer Sebastião Salgado spent six years immersed in the Brazilian Amazon as he documented the world’s largest tropical rainforest in black-and-white. From wide, aerial shots framing the vegetation populating the landscape to sincere portraits of Indigenous peoples living throughout the region, Salgado’s wide-ranging photographs are a revealing and intimate study of the area today.

Titled Amazônia, a 528-page tome from Taschen compiles these images, which in the absence of color, are attentive to naturally occurring contrasts in light and texture. They explore the unique environment and cultural milieu Salgado experienced during his travels as he visited multiple small communities—the tribes include the Yanomami, the Asháninka, the Yawanawá, the Suruwahá, the Zo’é, the Kuikuro, the Waurá, the Kamayurá, the Korubo, the Marubo, the Awá, and the Macuxi—to create a visual record of their traditions and ways of life. “For me, it is the last frontier, a mysterious universe of its own, where the immense power of nature can be felt as nowhere else on Earth,” the Brazilian photographer said. “Here is a forest stretching to infinity that contains one-tenth of all living plant and animal species, the world’s largest single natural laboratory.”

Pre-order a copy on Bookshop, and keep an eye on Taschen’s site for a forthcoming art edition that’s packaged with a signed print. You also can explore an archive of Salgado’s photographs capturing moments around the globe from Botswana and Mali to Guatemala and Vietnam on Artsy.

 

An igapó, a type of forest frequently flooded by river water, with palms and other emerging trees. In the center of the photo, a tree that’s trunk is covered with water: an aldina (Aldina latifolia). At right, a jauari palm tree (Astrocaryum jauari). Anavilhanas archipelago, Anavilhanas National Park, Lower Rio Negro. State of Amazonas, 2019.

Left: Yara Asháninka, the eldest daughter of Wewito Piyãko and Auzelina Asháninka. The small paint designs on her face indicate that a girl is not yet engaged. Kampa do Rio Amônea Indigenous Territory, state of Acre, 2016. Right: Luísa, daughter of Moisés Piyãko Asháninka, paints herself in the mirror. Kampa do Rio Amônea Indigenous Territory, state of Acre, 2016.

The Maiá River in Pico da Neblina National Park, in the São Gabriel da Cachoeira area. Yanomami Indigenous Territory. State of Amazonas, 2018.

Miró (Viná) Yawanawá making feather adornments, one of the arts a beginner must learn to master. Rio Gregório Indigenous Territory, state of Acre, 2016.

The Raposa–Serra do Sol Indigenous Territory occupies two ecologically distinct areas: fields in the south and densely forested mountains in the north. Its main landmark is Mount Roraima, seen in the background, that’s name is associated with the mythological hero Makunaima. This hero inspired Brazilian author Mario de Andrade’s classic novel Macunaíma. There are an estimated 140 Macuxi villages. Cotingo River Falls. State of Roraima, 2018.

 

 



Photography

Hawaii's Dense Forests Envelop Abandoned Cars in Photographs by Thomas Strogalski

November 26, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

All photographs © Thomas Strogalski and shared with permission of the artist

Abandoned vehicles are swallowed by the surrounding forest in “Nature Takes Over,” a photo series by Thomas Strogalski. The German photographer, normally based in Düsseldorf, was on assignment in Maui, Hawaii for a client and found some spare time to pursue this personal project. “During my 5-week stay, I discovered striking irregularities within the lush, fascinating nature,” Strogalski tells Colossal. Old automobiles, from sedans and trucks to camper vans and R.V.s, the once-powerful machines have been subsumed beneath towering trees and twisting vines. “I am fascinated by the thought that in the end nature will take over man,” reflects Strogalski. “With peace, lasting continuity, flexibility in harmony with permanent adaptation, nature seems to reclaim what one wants to take away from it.” Explore more of the photographer’s professional and personal work on Behance and Instagram.

 

 



Art

REWILD: A Short Film by Splash and Burn and ESCIF Chronicles Rainforest Restoration Efforts in Sumatra

September 10, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

To draw attention to the ecological devastation wrought by palm oil farming in Southeast Asia, the Splash and Burn project (previously) creates and documents large and small-scale art activations. The initiative’s most recent endeavor, titled REWILD and executed with Spanish artist ESCIF, involved carving a rewind symbol into a palm oil plantation in Sumatra, Indonesia, and creating a short film documenting the effort. ESCIF explains, “the idea of going back, of rewinding, is an invitation to reconnect with ourselves; to recover awareness and respect for the earth, which is the ecosystem of which we are a part.”

The land art intervention took place on an acquired plantation within a new forest restoration site made possible by the Sumatran Orangutan Society. After clearing the palms, diverse vegetation has been re-planted. In a release about the project, Splash and Burn explains that the restoration site is located on the borders of the Leuser Ecosystem, one of the most biodiverse places on earth. Sumatra’s forests—and the wildlife populations within—have shrunk by 40% in the past two decades, replaced by palm oil, paper pulp, and rubber plantations. Though not commonly known in the U.S. as a cooking oil, palm oil is the most widely consumed oil on the planet, found in everything from chocolate and instant noodles to lipstick and laundry detergent.

You can watch the trailer of REWILD below. It features an abstract soundscape by Indonesian composer Nursalim Yadi Anugerah. If you are interested in contributing, head to moretrees.info, and follow Splash and Burn (comprised of Ernest Zacharevic and Charlotte Pyatt) on Instagram.

 

 



Photography

Stunning Portraits of Madagascar's Reptiles and Amphibians by Ben Simon Rehn

April 22, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

All photographs © Ben Simon Rehn, shared courtesy of the artist

In December, 2018, Iceland-based photographer Ben Simon Rehn trekked to Madagascar to test a new camera for Olympus. While on assignment, the photographer captured some spectacular images of the lush African island’s wildlife. Striking close-ups of chameleons show the reptiles’ pebbled skin texture and unique coloration, and a portrait of a Sky-Blue Reed Frog shows the amphibian’s shimmering bronze-toned eyes and sleek yellow and blue skin.

Prior to Rehn’s career as a photographer, he was a high performance athlete, which shows in his ambitious location shoots in remote, rugged locations. In addition to his editorial work, Rehn seeks to raise awareness about environmental issues and the impact of mankind on the earth. Follow along with the photographer’s travels on Instagram and Behance and take an in-motion look at the landscapes he explores on Vimeo.