La Carretera

Life Along Peru's Interoceanic Highway


Roberto (Bear) Guerra

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"Highways, of course, alter everything. They change patterns of human settlement, hasten the destruction of natural habitat, transmit disease, set the stage for clashes of cultures." -Ted Conover

Peru's Interoceanic Highway was finally completed last year, linking the country's Pacific ports to Brazil’s Atlantic coast. Proponents of  the road praise it for connecting remote communities and facilitating trade between Peru, China, Brazil, the U.S. and other countries. But, along with "development," the highway is bringing environmental devastation, social tensions, and conflict to one of  the most bio-diverse places on the planet.

In 2010, I began to create a portrait of  life along the new highway during this period of  profound change. My hope is that this project can contribute to a critical discussion about "development" in the modern world, and the ways in which our first-world appetites for resources fuel monumental changes in developing countries.


Roberto (Bear) Guerra is a photographer who focuses on humanitarian, environmental, and social justice issues throughout the Western Hemisphere. His work has been published and exhibited widely and received several recognitions, including an honorable mention in the 2012 Photocrati Fund competition for his project in Peru, "La Carretera: Life Along the Interoceanic Highway." Bear has been a finalist for a National Magazine Award in Photojournalism (2010) for work from Haiti, and the recipient of  funding from the Society of  Environmental Journalists, the Puffin Foundation, the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, and the Christensen Fund/Project Word.

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Ross Island and the Future of the McMurdo Sound Region

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Between River and Sea

Photographer: Michael Hanson

Between River and Sea focuses on life in and around Apalachicola, FL. For over a century, an independent, hand-built industry has drifted through the shallow waters of the Apalachicola Bay. This bay, one of the most productive and unique ecosystems in the country, once produced 10% of the nation’s oysters and 90% of Florida's. Today, only a handful of oystermen have work and this community struggles to maintain its tradition and livelihood. Oysters need a mix of freshwater and saltwater. They depend on this balance but the freshwater coming down the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) Basin has been drastically cut short by a series of dams and overuse in Georgia and Alabama. As droughts persist alongside a constant pressure from a major metropolitan city at the headwaters, the Apalachicola Bay clings to a trickle of water. The project aims to connect users throughout the watershed and expose what's at the end of the river. It also aims to celebrate the bay and a lifestyle that revolves around the perfect mix of fresh and salt water.

Fracking: Forgotten on the Bakken

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Forgotten on the Bakken illustrates the environmental and cultural impacts of fracking, an industry now underway in 20 states. This project begins on the northern great plains but is representative of experiences throughout fracking country. Traditions of open space and agrarian livelihoods have been disrupted by a flurry of activities associated with the high-volume hydraulic fracturing industry. North Dakota—situated on the Bakken geologic formation—is now the second highest oil-producing state in the nation.