In London Exhibit, Amazon Rainforest Photos Reveal Both Horror of Deforestation and Beauty of Unspoilt Regions

© Sebastaio Salgado/Amazonas/rbpictures. The State of Amazonas, Brazil,2009

Every minute a huge track of the Amazon rainforest disappears. "Amazon," a photography exhibit on view in London, highlights the beauty and fragility of the region and promotes the Sky Rainforest Rescue project.

Award-winning photographers Sebastiao Salgado and Per-Ander Pettersson depict the conditions in the state of Acre in NW Brazil which is the size of Belgium.

Sponsored by British broadcasting group Sky and the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), Sky Rainforest Rescue is a three year project which aims to help save one billion trees in the area. Sky and the WWF are raising £4M ($6M) to provide support for the local people and local government in their work to preserve their forests and introduce sustainable practices and monitor deforestation.

The photos by Salgado portray the Amazonian landscapes in their most pristine state. Since 2004 he has been working on "Genesis," a series of photographs of landscapes and wildlife and people who continue to live in accordance with their ancestral cultures. These are places that remain intact despite the pressures of human "progress" taking place in the area. As Salgado says; "My project Genesis is designed to show how the unspoiled world must be preserved and where possible expanded."

© Per-Anders Petterson

The work of Per-Anders Petterson, a Swedish photographer, examines the dreadful reality of deforestation in the area and the impact on the people who live there.

© Per-Anders Petterson

He shows the scale of the problem but also some of the progress that is being made through programmes such as Sky Rainforest Rescue. He says, "This trip gave me a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the work that is being done first-hand. The images that we captured were eye-opening, beautiful, heart breaking and encouraging, in equal measure."

B. Alter/CC BY 2.0

As part of the opening ceremonies, a succinct and fascinating discussion on carbon trading was held, with the UK's Minister for the Environment, Greg Barker on hand. He said that the government was committed to providing funds to sustain the forests.

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Tags: Ecology | Forestry | Photography