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Endangered River: Portraits of the Tapajós

Jeanny Tsai | Brazil

Organization: Jeanny Tsai Photography

Renata plays in the bushes in the isolated community of Brinco das Moças located in the Tapajós Basin in the Brazilian Amazon. Her community and way of life are threatened by plans by the Brazilian government to build forty-five hydroelectric dams on the Tapajós River over the next two decades.

Those benefiting from the hydroelectricity would be people in far away cities and those receiving all the negative consequences would be the communities, flora, and fauna of the region. Clearly, this plan has large scale destructive repercussions that would not only alter the life of those in the immediate vicinity and the Amazon region but also affect Brazil and the world at large. Scientists have long proven that the ecosystem in the Amazon Basin helps to regulate the climate for the world.

The Brazilian government plans to build forty-five hydroelectric dams on the Tapajós River over the next two decades. Those benefiting from the hydroelectricity would be people in far away cities and those receiving all the negative consequences would be the communities, flora, and fauna of the region. Clearly, this plan has large scale destructive repercussions that would not only alter the life of those in the immediate vicinity and the Amazon region but also affect Brazil and the world at large.  Scientists have long proven that the ecosystem in the Amazon Basin helps to regulate the climate for the world. 

Along the Tapajós and neighboring areas on the Amazon River, life continues to be lived; mothers raise their babies, children play in pristine streams and forests, workers cultivate manioca, and healers work with native plants and prayers. This documentary series in progress is a visual testimony to the beauty that exists in the everyday life of people whom live in proximity to the proposed hydroelectric sites in the Tapajós Basin. 

I am a photographer who specializes in documentary, ethnographic, and portrait photography. I have a passion for photographing people and cultures worldwide that express their devotion to the divine through rituals and celebrations. I also seek to photograph people and places that are facing environmental or social challenges that threaten established traditional, culturally rich ways of life. Some of the countries where I have photographed projects of this nature include Nepal, India, Indonesia, and Brazil. It is my desire that my photographs inspire and inform others through depicting beauty and conveying a positive testimony of people and places despite negative externalities that may be affecting the region.

Jeanny Tsai

jeannytsaiphotography.com

 

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