Last Wildest Place by Jason Houston
The Purús-Manu region in southeastern Peru is one of the most remote, inaccessible, and important areas of the Amazon, where still-intact ecosystems provide sustenance for settled Indigenous communities, and home to perhaps the highest concentration of isolated tribes on Earth.
While largely undeveloped, this last wildest place is increasingly threatened by many deforestation drivers including: logging, mining, oil and gas development, cattle grazing, coca cultivation, agricultural expansion, plus legal and illegal road construction projects that open up previously inaccessible forests with devastating, and irrevocable impacts on the ecosystems, and all who depend on them.
Cousins by Kristen Emack
My daughter and my niece’s involvement in each other’s lives is both gravitational and expected. The four girls have each other to navigate this tender process, and I admire their innocent, confident relationships with themselves, the world, and one another. Between them is an intimate and spiritual knowledge that is both ordinary and extraordinary, and I’m indebted to them for letting me capture the brilliance of their communion, and kinship.
As they have matured, they have begun to understand that the lives of Black girls are not well documented, and they agree that an added intention of this series is to bring forward that perspective.
ZEKE Award First Place Winners: Jason Houston, Kristen Emack
Honorable Mentions: Etinosa Yvonne, Mohsen Kaboli, Tako Robakidze, Nicolò Filippo Rosso, Ricardo Teles
Curated by: Glenn Ruga
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Jason Houston was introduced to the region in 2015 as part of a team from Science Magazine investigating the possible causes for a dramatic increase in contact events between isolated tribes and remote villagers. He has since returned a dozen times with Upper Amazon Conservancy and other organizations to try and better understand the tenuous relationship between isolated tribes and settled Indigenous communities and how loggers, drug traffickers, illegal mining, and new roads are encroaching on protected areas and driving these conflicts.
Jason has partnered with many organizations including The Nature Conservancy, WWF, UNESCO, USAID, and the Pulitzer Center on projects ranging from wildland firefighting in the American west and maternal healthcare in Haiti and Nepal to small-scale fisheries throughout the developing tropics. His work has been published editorially and exhibited around the world and he is a Senior Fellow at International League of Conservation Photographers and a Fellow at Wake Forest University’s Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability.
Kristen Emack is a photographer and public school educator who lives and works in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and holds a degree in Latin American and Caribbean Studies.
Kristen is a Mass Cultural Council Photography Fellow. She is a Critical Mass Top 50 Winner, a Michael Reichmann Project Grant recipient, a PDN Emerging 30 nominee, and her images have appeared on Photoville’s multi-city outdoor exhibition project The FENCE for the second time in 2019. Her interview in VOGUE Italia was published in February 2020, and she recently became the 2nd place series winner in Lensculture Portraits.
Kristen’s work includes two ongoing projects that look at childhood, family and visibility, and a finished series that looks at loss.
Social Documentary Network (SDN) is a global community of documentary photographers, editors, curators, NGOs, students, journalists, and others who believe in the power of visual storytelling to build understanding and appreciation for the complexities, nuances, wonders, and contradictions that abound in the world today.
Since our founding in 2008, the SDN website has featured more than 3,000 exhibits by more than 2,000 photographers, from all corners of the globe. Today, we have grown beyond the boundaries of a computer screen and produce gallery exhibitions, educational programs, calls for entries, and our print magazine, ZEKE: The Magazine of Global Documentary.