Victor Moriyama
Amazon Deforestation

In Brazil, agriculture accounts for one-quarter of the gross domestic product. In 2014, the country sank into a deep recession. Loggers and ranchers subsequently moved into the Amazon, for centuries a reliable source of rubber trees, minerals and fertile soil. The consequences: in 2019, Brazil lost as much rainforest as it had over the previous ten years. The new President, Jair Bolsonaro, nevertheless supports industrial use and relaxed environmental laws to this purpose. Slash-and-burn clearing in the dry season, which led to horrific forest fires, was followed by a diplomatic fiasco. Politicians, celebrities and the population protested; France threatened an embargo; Norway and Germany cancelled their financial aid to protect the rainforest. After protracted hesitation, Bolsonaro took military action against slash-and-burn clearing and imposed by decree a 60-day prohibition of this practice. Photographer Victor Moriyama has documented this sad chapter in the history of the Amazon rainforest.

  • Amazon
  • Animals
  • Brasil
  • Climate
  • Crisis
  • The Environment
3 Questions
1. The door opener: Can you describe a formative moment in your career as a visual journalist?

I am at the best moment of my career because I work regularly for The New York Times which gives me the best working conditions I have ever had in my entire career. I am able to address issues that I have been interested in since the beginning of my career as a photojournalist. However, after years of dedicating myself to the demands of newspapers and magazines, I am currently working intensely to discover myself and position myself as the author of my work. From then on, I intend to organise a book on the transformations of the Amazon in recent years.

2. The decisive moment: When did you first encounter your topic and why did you decide to cover it photographically?

I have worked in the Amazon for many years documenting the impacts of deforestation on traditional peoples and the forest. However, on August 19, 2019, the sky of the city I live in, São Paulo, became black in broad daylight, as a result of the fires in the Amazon. On this day I called the head of communications for Greenpeace Brazil to fly over the region. The next day early we were flying over the Amazon and I will never forget the impact of the fire on me. The forest was crying blood.

3. The future: How could the visual journalism of the future look like?

I believe that photojournalists will be increasingly essential because they are the ones on the frontline and, therefore, indispensable for the global society to understand, from the images, the transformations that happen. In this sense, we must think more and more about multimedia productions capable of communicating in the best possible way the themes in which we work. Independence to investigate the sensitive themes for each photographer seems to me to be the order of the moment which guarantees an even greater responsibility with their own dreams.


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The photographer Victor Moriyama answers questions concerning his experience while working on his project Amazon Deforestation and the social and political context in which it takes place.

Found in Research

The New York Times – “The Amazon Is Completely Lawless”
“The Amazon Is Completely Lawless”, The Rainforest After Bolsonaros First
Year, text by Matt Sandy, photographs and video by Victor Moriyama, published on 5
December 2019.

Curated by Daniel Rodríguez

© for all photos by the photographers
© for videos Lumix Festival Hanover, if not indicated otherwise.

*1984 in Brazil
Victor Moriyama works as a photographer for international media and NGOs. His main topics are public security, state violence, indigenous societies and environmental conflicts. He is currently documenting the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest and the conflicts associated with it. In 2019, he started his documentary project @historiasamazonicas. His works are regularly published in Libération, Le Monde, The New York Times, National Geographic and El País.


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