Lágrimas do Rio Doce

Tears of the Sweet River

Photographer

Leonardo Merçon

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Concept

On the 5th of November 2015 the town Bento Rodrigues in Minas Gerais was swept away by 62m3 metres of toxic mud from the collapse of two mining dams. The toxic residue entered the river Rio Doce and oozed downriver, polluting the water supply of hundreds of thousands of residents, killing millions of fish, birds, mammals until finally spilling into the ocean. The biggest environmental catastrophe in the history of Brazil is the result of a corrupt government and continuous non-compliance of environmental laws. The project Lágrimas do Rio Doce (Translation: Tears of the Sweet River) is an independent photographic-audiovisual production aiming to show the real consequences of this tragedy for biodiversity, local populations and traditional communities that depend on the river to survive. The river is rooted in the culture of fishermen, native americans (índios) and riverside populations. Through this project, these communities will be given a voice.

Biography

Leonardo Merçon is a Brazilian wildlife and conservation photographer. He graduated as Graphic Designer at the Federal University of Espírito Santo (UFES) and specialized in Photography at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne (KHM), Germany.

In 2011, Léo founded the non-profit organization Instituto Últimos Refúgios (translation: Last Refuges) that engages in raising environmental awareness, trying to encourage the dialogue between the society, environmental organizations, private institutions and the government. His mission is to encourage the development of empathy for nature, wildlife and traditional populations. The results his work are published in photographic books, exhibitions, documentaries, web-series and social media.

Instituto Últimos Refúgios Website

www.leonardomercon.com.br

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Featured Projects



Lágrimas do Rio Doce
Tears of the Sweet River


Photographer: Leonardo Merçon

The project Lágrimas do Rio Doce (Translation: Tears of the Sweet River) is an independent photographic-audiovisual production aiming to show the real consequences of this tragedy for biodiversity, local populations and traditional communities that depend on the river to survive. The river is rooted in the culture of fishermen, native americans (índios) and riverside populations. Through this project, these communities will be given a voice.


Water


Photographer: Mustafah Abdulaziz

Initiated in 2011, “Water” is a fifteen-year photographic project. Water and humanity are moving towards a crisis. We live in a time when 650 million people have no access to safe drinking water; when our rivers, basins and lakes are affected by decades of industry; when rising sea levels are placing Pacific Islanders in the cross-hairs of becoming the first climate refugees. The complexity of our relationship with water reflects our greater behavior towards our environment, which we’re beginning to understand has a defining impact on our planet.


Breaking the Cycle
a documentary film


Photographer: Dan Lamont and Sara Finkelstein

The facts are startling: the United States incarcerates more of its citizens than any other country on Earth. Those who fill the jails often come from fractured families with pernicious, multigenerational histories of poverty, substance abuse, mental illness, and domestic violence. Kids from such environments too often get in trouble. Incarcerated youth have a 75 percent chance of reoffending as adults and the cycle continues. It is a terrible tragedy and a colossal waste of human lives and social resources.