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The Amazon: brought to life through unseen photographs

26 October 2011

Throughout November, at what's already being called a 'magical' experience, you can see the magnificent Amazon rainforest through the lens of two award-winning photographers - Sebastião Salgado and Per-Anders Pettersson. London’s Somerset House is hosting an inaugural exhibition at their new East Wing galleries in aid of Sky Rainforest Rescue, running for a month from 2 November.
Update: due to popular demand, the exhibition has been extended till 18 December - don't miss out.

© Sebastiao Salgado/Amazonas/nbpictures. The State of Amazonas, Brazil. 2009.

The free exhibition features unseen images of the Amazon’s pristine habitats, from Salgado’s photo essay, ‘Genesis’, while Pettersson’s images document a recent trip to Acre with actress Gemma Arterton. Together they highlight what’s at stake if we don’t take action to preserve this spectacular part of the world.

Below, Per-Anders Pettersson tells you all you need to know about ‘Amazon’, and what you didn’t know about Gemma Arterton’s hidden talent…

What’s this exhibition all about? “It’s about highlighting the plight of the Amazon rainforest, and it gives insight into progress made by Sky Rainforest Rescue to protect this amazing and fragile part of the world.”

What can visitors expect to experience? “Some of the images will help visitors understand the deforestation first hand. Others show the reality of life in the poor communities of the region, and some of the innovative solutions to deforestation that WWF and Sky are using.”

What impact do you hope your work will have? “I hope it will further highlight this issue and lead many people to get involved in this cause. Somerset House will be a fantastic venue to attract a large amount of people. My work is normally from Africa so this was an opportunity to point my camera in another part of the world.”

Gemma with schoolchildren in Acre, Brazil. © Per-Anders Pettersson
What’s it like working with Gemma Arterton? “Gemma was great! I have worked with many celebrities before and I can only say that the experience was absolutely a pleasure. She is genuinely interested in the cause and she has a remarkable warm way of interacting with people. We hiked together for hours and she never complained. We had a lot of work to do but we also had a lot of fun during the trip. And she is a great singer!!”

Your best memory from the trip to Acre?
“Although visiting remote villages and projects was amazing, the most rewarding and powerful was flying over the vast landscape. Flying and shooting images as the sun rises - an absolutely unforgettable experience. It’s surely one of the most amazing places I've ever been to in the world.”

‘Amazon’ is free and open to the public from 2 November to 18 December at Somerset House on The Strand in central London.

Amazonas images © Per-Anders PetterssonImages from Acre, Brazil © Per-Anders PetterssonImages from Acre, Brazil © Per-Anders PetterssonImages from Acre, Brazil © Per-Anders Pettersson© Sebastiao Salgado/Amazonas/nbpictures. The State of Amazonas, Brazil. 2009.© Sebastiao Salgado/Amazonas/nbpictures. The State of Amazonas, Brazil. 2009.© Sebastiao Salgado/Amazonas/nbpictures. The State of Amazonas, Brazil. 2009.© Sebastiao Salgado/Amazonas/nbpictures. The State of Amazonas, Brazil. 2009.

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Research carried out in the Amazon rainforest, Peru

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