Katarina Premfors has a history of working with NGO’s like United Nations to document stories that need to be seen, as well as heard. Invited by Greenpeace through the organisation Photographers for Hope (PFH) of which Premfors is one of the founding members, to photograph and document deforestation in Indonesia and how it has affected indigenous communities.
Premfors travelled to the island of Sungai Tahor which was destroyed by a pulp and paper company in 2009, resulting in forest fires and loss of livelihood.
“80% of the population of Papua live in forests”
A number of locations were suggested by Greenpeace and Premfors and Moldenhauer (another member of PFH) travelled deep into the interior to photograph how one of the communities is rebuilding their lives.
On Mainland Sumatra, in the Dosan, Premfors photographed a community that had land destroyed by illegal roads and illegal logging. To try and help protect livelihoods and the forest environment an innovative, independent smallholder project was initiated which helps deliver social and economic benefits to similar communities, and in the process protect the remaining forest.
“In West Papua, one of Indonesia’s last remaining areas of the intact virgin forest I photographed the forest communities which have formal rights to manage their own forest land and protect it from the encroaching palm oil companies. This permit when approved will be a landmark milestone for forest conservation in Papua and can be replicated in other communities,” explains Premfors.
Photographers For Hope were asked by Greenpeace to present a selection of the edited imagery to one donor in Switzerland. Following the presentation, the donor’s annual support went from US$ 5,000 up to US$ 650,000. This story validates the power of photography, good research and the empathy that is felt to highlight the environmental destruction of both people and nature.
Below is a selection of Premfors photography – The untouched forest, the livelihood, the devastation, the production…
All imagery in this post is used with the authors’ permission. © Copyright 2017 Katarina Premfors. All rights reserved. All written text is © 2017 Mark Woodward. All rights reserved. Please ask for permission for usage, rights and/or licensing. Thank you.