Madre Terra Award 2020 | Dario De Dominicis – ENG

Mother Earth Award Winner 2020Dario De Dominicis

In the already economically depressed area of Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro’s natural harbour, the industrial development is disputing the territory with traditional fishing, leaving only 12% of the area available to 8000 fishermen. Territory limitations come from the Navy activities and from the congested shipping lanes, but even more restrictions are imposed by oil companies, who colonized the bay both above and below the water surface with offshore platforms and oil and gas pipelines on the seabed. As well as possible contaminations by the oil industry, estimated at 0,3 tons of heavy metals such as lead, zinc and mercury leaked per day, the bay is also threatened by city pollution. The metropolis discharges 17 tons of untreated domestic sewage per second into the bay. According to recent studies by the State University of Rio, the water of the bay presents a high concentration of endocrine-disrupting compounds. The recent-discovered micro pollutants seem to be able to interfere with the endocrine system, causing consequences such as the decrease in hatching percentage of fish egg and the feminization of male fish. In humans, micropollutants effects increase breast, testicular and prostate cancer. These attacks on the ecosystem are even more aggressive due to the vacuum of institutional territory control and due to the toxic waste criminal business, which is dominated by drug traffickers and militias.

This projected started in 2013 and was completed in 2019.  The photographer has been investigating how these social and economical issues have changed and affected the artisanal fishermen community of Guanabara Bay, raisinge awareness on one of the many contemporary environmental dramas, which is clearly part of the global debate on food safety. As recently stated by the United Nations recently in one of their international resolutions, artisanal fishery represents more than 90% of the world’s extractive fishing. Protecting small fishing communities means protecting those habitats whose biodiversity is key to guarantee the food balance of our planet.

Photo copyright: © Dario De Dominicis

Dario De Dominicis has been working as a professional photographer since 1993 collaborating with several agencies in Rome. In 1999 he was commissioned a reportage about life inside the Pontifical Roman Major Seminary. The photos were published by the Vicariate of Rome on the Jubilee of 2000. Since then he has increasingly turned his attention to his personal research and his projects. In 2001 he completed a project, lasted four years, on the monarchist movement in Italy. In 2002 he carrieds out a photographic documentation in cooperation with four Italian photographers, on behalf of the non-profit association “Thirty Hours for Life”. This work was presented in an exhibition at the Roman School of Photography and collected in a photographic book. From 2002 to 2009 he taught photojournalism at the Roberto Rossellini State Institute for Cinema and Television and at the school Officine Fotografiche in Rome.

In 2004, he published his first book A Cuban story”. This long-term project summarizes a fifteen years investigation aimed to follow Cuba’s transformation after the fall of the socialist block in Europe. In 2009 he moved to Rio de Janeiro with the purpose to follow Brazilian socio-political events and document how the country was preparing for the arrival of two mega-events such as the FIFA World Cup and Olympics. Since then he has been covering several events taking place in Brazil and the complex social issues related to this area.

His work has been published in several Italian and international newspapers such as L’Espresso, Newsweek, Corriere della Sera, Le Monde, Sunday Times, El Pais, Die Zeit, among others.

Lodi, Banca Centropadana
corso Roma, 100