Distinguished image in World Press Photo gives rise to exhibition and book

Portuguese photojournalist Mário Cruz opens an exhibition of the work he has developed in the Philippines, which will be published in a book and was awarded in this year’s World Press Photo in April at the Anjos Palace in Algés, Oeiras.

Living Among What’s Left Behind” brings together images that the photojournalist captured for a month in the Philippines, where he visited communities living along the Pasig River, witnessing extreme environmental pollution that people have been facing for decades.

The exhibition, which opens April 6 and will be open until May 26, will show 40 images, from the thousands captured by the photographer.

On the opening day of the show, a book is presented, edited by Nomad and developed by Estúdio Degrau, with “70 photographs, between black and white and colors, which portray, in a crude way, the reality that Mario Cruz found in Manila”, according to the Nomad editorial team, in a statement released today.

The cover of the book was produced “through the processing of 160 kilograms of industrial waste and household waste,” each one being “individually crafted and hand-crafted, resulting in single-cover specimens symbolizing the abundance of trash left behind”.

Mário Cruz is one of the winners in the Environment (single image) category of World Press Photo 2019, with a photograph showing a child collecting recyclable materials to obtain some kind of income that allows him to help his family, lying on a mattress surrounded by garbage, which floats on the Pasig River, which was once declared biologically dead in the 1990s.

In addition to Mário Cruz, two other photographers were awarded in the Ambiente category in a single image. On April 11 in Amsterdam, the winner’s name will be announced, as well as the second and third places of this and other categories, as well as the Photo of the Year.

For the photojournalist, this image “is an appeal that deserves a rapid reaction.”

“We see images of beaches littering the beach and we were disturbed, but these people in Manila have been surrounded by garbage every day for many years, and this deserves our quick reaction,” he said.

The winning photograph was captured in this sense: “Deep down it is an appeal not to ignore what can not be ignored.”

The inhabitants of those communities tried unsuccessfully to live in the capital of the Philippines and eventually created illegal buildings by the river where they live, without sanitation, and many of them from the recycling of garbage that is thrown away.

“It’s a problem that has dragged on, and it’s getting worse,” said the photojournalist, adding that he saw estuaries, created to prevent the floods, full of garbage.

“At the moment we only see garbage. It’s dramatic to look at a water channel and not see the water, only plastic, and this undoubtedly deserves a reaction,” he reiterated.

In 2016, Mário Cruz won the first place in the Contemporary Themes category of the World Press Photo, with a work on the slavery of children – the Talibés – in Senegal (Talibés – Modern Days Slaves), which gave rise to a book, after it was published in Newsweek, and that it was a global alert. In Senegal, pamphlets were distributed with photographs made by you, and hundreds of children were rescued.

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