Photo gallery: Aerial images of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest – ‘I live this torment, because I’m not sure if my work was good or strong enough to make an effective change in people’s lives’Posted by Jim at Wednesday, July 09, 2014
By Chelsea Matiash
8 July 2014
(Wall Street Journal) – Rodrigo Baleia first embarked on a Greenpeace trip to make photographs of the Amazon rainforest in 2000 – and after twelve years and about 218,000 miles of flight documentation, he is still not satisfied with his mission in chronicling the deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon.
“I live this torment,” Mr. Baleia said, “because I’m not sure if my work was good or strong enough to make an effective change in people’s lives.”
Mr. Baleia has sought to dismantle the idyllic, exotic image of the Amazon, where ”nature was untouched and people were living in harmony,” replacing it with graphic, aerial images of an eroded paradise. Committed to his mission of creating a truer picture of an oasis threatened by deforestation, he moved in 2008 from his home in Southern Brazil to Manaus where he remained until 2012, hoping to gain a deeper understanding of the region.
Mr. Baleia’s photographs were made during trips spanning 2000-2012. They catalog the changes of the landscape and its inhabitants in the Amazon, which contains roughly a third of the world’s surviving tropical rainforest. More than sixty percent of the Amazon is located in Mr. Baleia’s homeland of Brazil, where rapid destruction was spurred in recent decades by farmers, developers and loggers. Deforestation of the region has seen a drop of about 73% since 2004, according to data compiled by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, and despite a 28% uptick in 2013, Brazil is close to its 2020 goal of reducing deforestation by 80 percent from 1990 levels. [more]