What do you think of when you think of the Amazon rainforest? Do you think of the colorful birds and slinky leopards and anacondas? (Like from the 1997 classic, Anaconda, of course.) Do you think about Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro gunning to burn it down? What about its people?
Mainstream media dictated the image I had of the Amazon and the communities it houses. These images tend to promote an exoticized, colonial perception of Indigenous groups in the Amazon. It also gives the impression that the people are disappearing. Yes, consistent threats are encroaching on their environment and their communities. But in no way are the people of the Amazon simply vanishing.
Defensores de la Selva is a project by young Uruguayan photojournalist, Pablo Albarenga. It portrays the "concerns, projects, dreams, and emotions of young people on the ground with a message that is close, with a human face; a message of struggle, emotion, and hope."
And that it does. This independent journalism allows us in the West to understand those from the Southern hemisphere through their choice of expression. A form of journalism we are not often exposed to.
Explore Albarenga's compelling photos and poignant stories here: