Au - er tikt een tijdbom in het Surinaamse oerwoud
In the Surinamese jungle time stood still for centuries. Almost the entire interior is still covered with unspoilt, primary forest: a world record. Indians and Marroons live in traditional villages, feeding on what the forest and the rivers have to offer.
But there is a bomb ticking. Logging and commercial hunting are not even the main threats. There is a much more serious problem. Deep in the jungle tens of thousands of fortune seekers are hunting for the king of metals. Chemical symbol Au, atomic number 79. Gold.
The prospectors use aggressive, ruthless methods and pollute both the forest and the rivers with mercury. Research shows that many residents already have unacceptably high levels of mercury in their bodies, mainly as a result of eating contaminated fish. If this environmental attack is no stopped, very soon it will be game over. The future of the Indians and Maroons is severly threatened. For a clean river is the basis of their existence.
I traveled for three months in Surinam's interior to photograph for this book. An unforgettable journey, that brought me to far away corners of the jungle, where not many white men venture. What I found was incredible beauty, and a way of living that I didn't know before still exists. But I also felt how fragile this legacy is, or to be more honest; how it is about to fall apart.
'Au' to me is a book full of contrast. So much beauty and so much violence. So much love and so much carelessness. I met so many people that really care, but also quite a few that don't give a toss... In the end 'Au' turned out not to be a sad story, but rather a tribute to the inhabitants of the interior of Suriname, their unique way of life and the fabulously beautiful places where they live.
Au - er tikt een tijdbom in het Surinaamse oerwoud, txt & photography Thijs Heslenfeld, Dutch txt, full colour, 24,5 x 30,5 cm, hardcover, 180 pages, ISBN 9789460221743, price € 34,50
please note: the txt of this book is in Dutch - not in English like my other books!