BRAZIL, AMAZON. NOVEMBER 2008. Insects.
[ EPF 2012 FINALIST ]
ESSAY CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT
RICHLAND is my first long-term book project about the over-exploitation of the natural resources in Latin America and the resulting long-term negative effects, both human and environmental. The push for accelerated world economic growth has led to increasing demand for natural resources. Rather than benefit from natural resources abundance and wealth, local people living in areas of exploitation have experienced loss of livelihoods, health problems, human rights violations and environmental degradation.
The images included in this submission were made in Brazil, Peru, Venezuela and Ecuador. In 2008 I traveled to Brazil, a rising demand for soybean on the global market has led the Brazilian government to expand the agricultural frontier into the Amazonia. I covered the struggle of the people who has been displaced by the expansion of soya business into the Amazon region. In 2009 I traveled to La Oroya in Peru, one of the world’s ten most polluted places where thousands of children have blood lead levels that exceed acceptable limits. The lead comes from a smelter owned by the American Doe Run Company. In early 2010 I went to Venezuela to cover the illegal diamond and gold trade. About 200,000 miners are searching for diamonds and gold on the border with Brazil. The idea of finding a single diamond or seam of gold is enough motivation to put up with living isolated in the jungle. In 2011 I traveled to Ecuador to work on oil pollution. Over three decades of oil drilling in the Ecuadorian Amazon, Texaco dumped more than 18 billion gallons of toxic wastewater into the rainforest, polluting rivers and streams that local people depend on for drinking, cooking, bathing and fishing and leaving them suffering a wave of cancers and birth defects.
The EPF grant will allow me to complete this project. For the last part, I plan to travel to the south of Chile in order to cover the social and environmental impacts of the construction of hydroelectric dams in the Patagonia region.
Ecuador, Amazon. December 2011. Natural gas is burned off next to an oil well.
Ecuador, Amazon. December 2011. A girl called Leila covered in mud. There were more children in the place, the bank of a river in a community affected by oil pollution called Dayuma. They were playing to cover themselves in mud, for fun. Then they remove the mud with a dip in the river.
VENEZUELA, SANTA ELENA DE UAIREN REGION. JANUARY 2010. The shadow of a tree lies in a deforested area. This place was a jungle years ago. The first thing that miners do while searching for diamonds and gold is to clear out the land by cutting down the trees.
VENEZUELA, SANTA ELENA DE UAIREN. JANUARY 2010. A diamond and gold searcher carrying a shotgun.
VENEZUELA, SANTA ELENA DE UAIREN. JANUARY 2010. A man walking through a forest fire. Once an area is deforested the easier and fastest way to clean the land is burning everything with a fire.
VENEZUELA, SANTA ELENA DE UAIREN REGION. JANUARY 2010. A diamond miner uses a blast of high-pressure water. The land is liquidized with a blast of high pressure water, they use a track engine to pump water from a river near the place of extraction. After years of searching in the same place the whole mountain literally disappear.
Ecuador, Amazon. December 2011. A woman shows the scar due to her stomach cancer surgery.
ECUADOR, LAGO AGRIO REGION. NOVEMBER 2011. 5 frames together, View of an oil well.
PERU, LA OROYA. AUGUST 2009. DIPTIC. Children playing with a ball and Doe Run’s smokestack rises over La Oroya (right frame)
BRAZIL, SANTAREM. NOVEMBER 2008. two children fishing in the Tapajos River while a soya cargo ship arrives to the multinational agribusiness Cargill corporation’s port. Cargill’s port construction in the city of Santarem has had detrimental effects on the region by encouraging the growth of the soya industry deep into the Amazon. Soybean producers expand their activity from the south to the north of the country. Brazilian soybean is exported mainly to Europe to feed animal, mainly pigs, poultry and cows.
BRAZIL, SANTAREM. NOVEMBER 2008. Two children, one of them disabled (right), crying in their home after being abandoned by their mother who escaped after stabbing her partner. Most of the soya displaced families have to live in miserable conditions of poverty, violence and marginality in slums of the city of Santarem.
BRAZIL, SANTAREM REGION. NOVEMBER 2008. Aerial view of the Amazon rainforest deforested area due to the deep soya agrobusiness expansion into the Amazon. Brazil’s Amazon jungles lost almost 12,000 square kilometres in just 12 months (from August 2007 to July 2008).
ECUADOR, DECEMBER 2011. EL ENO. A young man jumps from an oil pipeline. The Oil pipeline called SOTE (Trans-Ecuadorian Pipeline System) crosses the entire country to carry crude a distance of 503 km (310 miles) from the Amazon to the Pacific coast.
PERU, LA OROYA. AUGUST 2009. Deivyt Rivera (8) is a disable kid being bathed by his mother. Lead poisoning is known to be particularly harmful to the mental development of children. It causes irreversible central nervous system damage, behavioral problems, anemia and developmental delays.
PERU, MOROCOCHA. AUGUST 2009. Contaminated water tanks in a mine close to La Oroya. Mining pollution is a major source of degradation of rivers and air.
PERU. AUGUST 2009. View of the city of La Oroya and the American-owned smelter, Doe Run Company.
Ecuador, Amazon. December 2011. Anthony, on the bank of a river near his home. Anthony is an eleven years old kid who suffers from birth defects; he can only walk with their knees. For the kids the river is essential in their life, it is the place to play and bathe. People know that water is polluted by oil industry but the river is the only source of water that is also used to cook and to wash clothes.
Ecuador, Amazon. December 2011. Oil pipeline called SOTE (Trans-Ecuadorian Pipeline System), it carries crude a distance of 503 km (310 miles) from the Amazon to the Pacific coast.
ECUADOR, LAGO AGRIO REGION, NOVEMBER 2011. A worker on an oil derrick.
BRAZIL, SANTAREM. OCTOBER 2008. Daily life scene. children swinging in a playgraund
BRAZIL, SANTAREM REGION. NOVEMBER 2008. Aerial view of the Amazon rainforest during fire caused to clear the land.
VENEZUELA, SANTA ELENA DE UAIREN REGION. JANUARY 2010. A little girl jumping into a river.
VENEZUELA, ICABARU REGION. FEBRUARY 2010. Night sky stars.
Gustavo Jononovich was born in Argentina in 1979. He began his studies in photography in 2002. In 2006, he started working as a professional photographer covering local news for the Argentine media. Since 2008 his main focus are long-term projects, being more interested in providing an in-depth analysis on the stories. His first book project, “Richland” (currently in progress), is about the over-exploitation of the natural resources in Latin America and the resulting long-term negative effects, both human and environmental. His work has been published in BURN magazine, Newsweek Japan, PRIVATE photo review and PDFX12, among others. Gustavo’s main accolades include a nomination for the ICP Infinity Award in Photojournalism (2010) and awards from Sony World Photography Organization (2012, 2nd place Contemporary issues), POYi Latin America (2011, 2nd place in migration and human trafficking category), EPOTY (2009, 2nd place in climate change category) and 14EIF Gijon (2010, finalist).