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The impact of mining in the Amazon is the theme of virtual exhibition

Photos taken at different times, since the 1980s, were selected by the photographer Paulo Santos for the "Virtual Exhibition" section of the Liberal Amazon project, as a way of raising awareness about the importance of protecting the environment

Alice Martins



The virtual exhibition "Amazonian Eye” brings a compilation of 15 images portraying the work in the region's mines. The work is authored by Paulo Santos, who specializes in photojournalism with a focus on socio-environmental issues.

According to MapBiomas, garimpo, unlike industrial mining, predominantly concentrates on gold extraction and is based on simpler techniques, such as excavators and suction pumps. Today, according to the project, more than 91% of the garimpo area is in the Amazon.

Paulo Santos' photos portray the activity in Serra Pelada (PA) and Juma (AM), in several years, such as 1984, 1992 and 2009. "The most impactful thing in doing this series of coverage over the years is to see how much the devastation of the forest has grown, in an overwhelming way. Besides exposing the mining scenario, my intention is to alert about the importance of protecting the Amazon", contextualizes the photographer.

Click on the photo below to see the virtual exhibition: 

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Photo Paulo Santos

Among the coverage he has done during his career, the photographer also highlights moments such as the case of Dorothy Stang's death, in 2005, and Operation Arco de Fogo, a major action in 2008 to contain deforestation in the Amazon. "For me, the greatest challenge of photojournalism is to combine information with aesthetics. You need to convey the density of the news through the image and, as shocking as the situation may be, the photo must also be attractive to the public," he points out.

The Virtual Exhibition is a dedicated space on the site of the Liberal Amazon project which aims to give more visibility to the photographic production of professionals who portray the region. Besides the images, the reader can also see a brief profile of the author and have access to the artist's contacts.

Previous exhibitions - The debut exhibition, published in July on, was by award-winning photographer Luiz Braga, who opted to present works in black and white. "[Black and white production] is still being done, but in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, it was a constant part of my work. So I chose, after the invitation, to make a cut of this material. It is all made with film, as we say today, analog," he explains. 

In August, the exhibition was of João Ramid, from Para, with the objective of portraying the different aspects of his career, which goes through many segments (photojournalism, publicity, architecture, and art). "Something I am very dedicated to is respecting the culture of the places I photograph. I can't go to a new place for work without doing some research, because I believe that photography is visual information and, for this reason, I always try to deliver content through images", he highlights.


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