Memórias: boiadeiros do cerrado
Parque das Emas, in the heart of the cerrado
CERRADO is a photography project designed to raise public awareness about the conservation of Brazil’s savanna region. The Project covers the production of books portraying not only the fauna and flora of the second largest biome in the country, but also the people and their stories in a series of visual memories intertwined with their lifestyle and landscape.
THE PROJECT is the result of a long working process. It started back in 1978 when I was working in the Cerrado as a cartographer. That was when I first came to visit Goiás’ tablelands and the Emas National Park. I gazed in wonder at those vast savanna fields. That extraordinary sight would inspire me for years to come.
Later in 2006, it took a new shape. My old film-roll camera would gradually be replaced by the advanced technologies of the digital era. After a long time away from photography, I began to seriously invest in both training and new equipment. Modern times demanded full understanding of the modern photographic processes.
THE PROJECT has produced 4 books so far. Two of them have already been finished.
Published by ICBC in Goiânia, 2010, "Memórias: boiadeiros do cerrado" – Memories: Cerrado’s herdsmen –brings together more than 40 photographs and illustrations, a map of the herd routes in the twentieth century, as well as interviews with herdsmen long-established in the backlands of Goiás. Copies still available to order now!
"Parque das Emas, no coração do cerrado” – Emas National Park, in the heart of the cerrado – features more than 100 color and black-and-white photographs of the Park’s landscape, flora and fauna - the most diverse and preserved area of the biome. Copies available to order now!
“Águas do Cerrado”- The Waters of Cerrado – highlights both graphically and textually the importance of the biome’s water sources which supply most of the major Brazilian drainage basins. With the support of Mineiros City Hall Council in Goiás, the book is currently under production. The completion is scheduled for early 2019.
Still at its early stages, “Cerradeiros, o homem e o meio” – Cerradeiros, the man and his surroundings – explores the relationship between man’s old occupations and his surroundings in the deep countryside of Goiás.
All PROJECT’s books depict both nature and men’s relationship history with the environment conveyed in texts full of vivid imagery.
Threatened by unrestrained agricultural expansion, this unique biological wealth is an endangered area. The Federal Constitution of 1988 failed to declare the Cerrado biome a National Heritage granting it no means to ensure the preservation of its natural resources. As a consequence, the so-called Open Arboreal Savanna, Savanna Park, and Grassy-Woody Savanna, so representative of the tablelands, are virtually gone. The gallery forests and riparian woodlands along the banks of watercourses, and the so-called dense arboreal savanna (known as Cerradões) normally found in regions of a more rugged topography unaffected by agricultural machinery, are the only barely surviving areas. And they too are being illegally exploited by coalmen to supply firewood to steelmakers.
Even to this day, I still get moved when I lay eyes upon a rare, untouched savanna area despite years and years of unceasing commercial farming expansion.
Preserving the memory of these vast wooded grasslands, as well as the people who live and depend upon it, is the least we can do for a place where the earth and the sky seem to touch one another in full harmony. And the horizon is just at the end of one’s fingertips!