Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 30th October 2019 – Acclaimed photographer and Nikon Ambassador, Sebastián Liste, has released a stunning new photography series investigating the effects that colonisation and deforestation have had on local employment, trade, community displacement and the environment in the Amazon.

The images are the latest in a major body of work from Sebastián, who has documented the Amazon for the past eight years. Equipped with the D850, Z 7 and NIKKOR lenses, Sebastián has now focussed on the Trans-Amazonian highway and the villages situated by its side. His aim is to educate new generations on the evolving geography of the Amazon, specifically the social, political and environmentally-charged impact of this highway.

The Trans-Amazonian highway is the third-longest in Brazil* and divides the Amazon rainforest in two. Initially designed to support greater integration throughout Brazil and with its neighbouring countries, its construction began in the 1970s but was never fully completed. The highway was still used and sporadic construction efforts have since restarted, bringing further change to the surrounding environment and people.

Sebastián comments:The development of the highway has allowed Brazil to position itself as one of the world’s most important exporters. From beef to chicken to coffee, sugar and soybean; it has supported economic growth and brought employment to the region. Yet it has also necessitated mass deforestation and destruction of the Amazon rainforest, and the colonisation it’s associated with has dramatically impacted the lives of the locals.”

While the ability to grow and transport goods has boosted Brazil’s economy, the colonisation of the Amazon has brought controversy and change. According to Sebastián, “the construction of the highway has had a positive economic impact but it’s also seen locals displaced from their communities, public lands illegally privatised and thousands of people working in difficult conditions on agricultural and livestock farms. There are many isolated communities living in the rainforest – they now have jobs but their lives have changed forever.”

To document these villages and their inhabitants, Sebastián used the D850, with its speed, resolution and light-sensitivity, along with the award-winning, full-frame Z 7 mirrorless camera. The three lenses that never left his side include the AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G and AF-S NIKKOR 58mm f/1.4G, as well as the NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S mirrorless lens.

He adds: “I needed reliable and robust equipment while I was working in the hot, humid and challenging conditions. I wanted to objectively document the situation and find the beauty within everyday scenes. This required high-quality images of split-second moments and maintaining complete control over light and colour. Only then could I do justice to the subject matter and help raise awareness of the realities of change in this remote but vital part of the world.”

The Nikon Europe Special Project Programme

The Nikon Europe Special Project Programme offers the opportunity for Nikon Ambassadors - consisting of talented and influential photographers from across Europe - to realise their dream projects. The programme forms part of Nikon’s ongoing mission to support inspiring photographers, giving them a platform to undertake projects they are passionate about while creating a community of visual artists who aspire to do things differently.

For more information about Sebastián’s project please visit his Special Project page. 

The kit

During his project, Sebastián used the following equipment:

● Cameras:
   ⚬ D850 
   ⚬ Z 7

● Lenses: 
   ⚬ AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G 
   ⚬ AF-S NIKKOR 58mm f/1.4G 
   ⚬ NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S