French celebrity and advertising photographer Philippe Echaroux recently traveled to meet a tribe of Indians living in the heart of the Amazonian forest.
Mixing street art and photography against a backdrop more natural than the street, he took portraits of members of this tribe, and projected their faces onto the trees of the Amazonian forest. The project is a beautiful representation of the harmonious way these men and women live with nature.
Echaroux accepted an invitation from the chief of the Surui tribe, Almir Narayamoga Surui, whose people live in the Amazonian forest. He lived with them throughout the project and became aware of how attached these people are to the earth. If the chief made a point to invite Echaroux to stay with them, it is because he wanted him to share their story.
There are only 1,300 members of the Surui tribe, and they seem to be largely forgotten. The tribe has been victim to countless ecological massacres, which is why Echaroux chose to raise awareness by projecting their faces throughout their territory, bearing witness to their land and its borders.
Echaroux uses what he calls "street art 2.0" giving preference to photography and light rather than painting and collage. Without damaging nature in any way, this ephemeral display deals gently with the tribe's surroundings, while making a powerful and intriguing statement.
"Taking down a tree is like killing a man"
As an activist and artist, Echaroux counts this homage to the Surui as the first in a series of ecologically-minded projects. Projecting faces in the forest is a way of explaining to people, "when you take down a tree, it's like killing a man."
The Brazilian government has given the Surui tribe a portion of land with the important mission of recultivating and protecting the Amazonian rainforest. But due to large-scale deforestation at the hands of those who do not hesitate to impinge on their territory and its resources, the Surui are having great difficulty preserving the land.
They want to raise global awareness about the awful massacre of the forest that damages not only land, but a people. Over 300 trucks carrying wood manage to pass through Surui territory illegally every single day.
Echaroux's striking series is a form of protest, a cry for help, in hopes that this forest will go on existing for years to come.