From the pristine jungles of Cambodia to the great national parks of India and Nepal, Asian wildlife is being plundered on an unprecedented scale. Every year, it is estimated that up to 30,000 primates, 5 million birds, 10 million reptile skins and 500 million tropical fish are traded.
Patrick Brown has been photographing the illegal trade of endangered animals in Asia for more than a decade, covering its dealers, stockpiles, trafficking routes and markets. This is a massive contraband industry, where the poachers are often the ones taking the blame, however they are only but a small part of a complex and highly profitable illegal trading business.
According to ancient custom, animal parts are imbued with ‘magical’ properties. Some people believe, for example, that eating the flesh of a tiger will make them strong. Despite scientific studies proving such superstitions wrong, the trade in animals and animal parts continues, fuelled by desire, greed and corruption.
Rhino horns have no medicinal purpose, but myths about their effect on health and potency have pushed their value to exceed the price of gold. Animal trade thrives on novelty and on the belief that exotic animals exude certain powers. More and more people are becoming aware of the myths, but sellers are also adapting. Porous rhino horns are now often soaked in Viagra before they reach the market.
The exact value of that market is impossible to figure out, but experts estimate that it is somewhere close to $10 billion annually. A poacher who kills a rhino and removes its horn in India gets $350. That same horn sells for $1,000 in a nearby market town. By the time it reaches Hong Kong, Beijing or the Middle East, the horn is worth $370,000. Tiger bones are worth up to $700 per kilo.
The illegal global wildlife trade has doubled since the 1990s, and the evidence is nothing short of disheartening: more than 100 million sharks are killed each year, elephants have evolved to have shorter tusks because of poaching, and there are more Bengalese tigers in Texas than in the bay of Bengal.
For years, I have traveled across Asia to document the devastating impact of wildlife trafficking. I’ve witnessed how our planet’s rarest creatures are being hunted, trapped and slaughtered to feed a global black market in wildlife products. This project is my attempt to expose that trade. Now I’d like to bring my work to a worldwide audience through my photographic book called “Trading to Extinction.”
Investigating the trade in its depths is a shocking tale of cruelty, crime and human greed. As with drug trafficking, money fuels the animal trade. Its tentacles wrap around the world, from the remote forests of Asia to the trafficking hubs of Beijing, Bangkok, London, Tokyo and New York.
Unfortunately there’s still a long way to go. This trade is without any doubt flourishing. However, I finally begin to see a coordinated political fight-back. An extraordinary worldwide movement is bringing together people from diverse backgrounds in a bid to save our most endangered species before it is too late. I hope our efforts will not be in vain.
Patrick Brown talks about the Trading to Extinction project, which documents the illegal trade of endangered animals in Asia. Vice Magazine travelled with Brown to Guangzhou, China, where he finishes his decade-long project.
Patrick goes deep inside this vast, dangerous world. He risks his own personal safety to take us on a fascinating — and stomach-turning — journey through the lives of myth-bound Chinese villagers, the status-seeking nouveau riche, third-generation smugglers, and corrupt officials that make this market possible.
To know more about the book, click here
The Workshop is designed for those working in a humanitarian context to enhance their photographic and reporting skills to communicate effectively; from natural disasters and crises to on-going development projects, Nic and Patrick, together with Workshopx photo editors will help you research and create powerful photographs and enable you to communicate with your audiences effectively. From the initial idea, to the final edit of images we will guide you through every step of the process.
The Workshop, held at Patrick Brown’s studio on the Chao Phraya River, will include daily mentoring, one-on-one critiques and insider’s tips and tricks. There will also be visiting lecturers offering presentations on the uses of images on social media and how best to get your message out.
Date: 1-4 February 2018 (opening evening + 3 days)
Place: Bangkok, Thailand
Number of participants: 8-16
Tuition: 1600 USD
Our aim: to boost your photographic skills in a stimulating but relaxed atmosphere.
Interns will work directly with Patrick in his studio. Students will get an amazing opportunity to take projects under their wing and see them out until completion. Patrick believes in hard work and dedication, so students will not only assist the in the creative side, but the successful applicant will be guided and instructed in darkroom techniques such as developing, printing plus scanning both prints, film and digital printing. Patrick will also give editorial advice on the personal projects that applicant is expected to working on during the internship. Patrick will help you with development of projects from concept through to completion, such as exhibitions, portfolios and books.
Applicant must have a good concept and understanding of Photoshop, Lightroom, and have a good command of English.
This is a 1 to 3 months postion.
The position is based in Bangkok, sadly we don’t offer accommodation or visa’s with this position. But we can advise you and help you find a place to stay.
Please email Patrick’s studio if you’re interested with small example of your work and your CV. firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the images in this haunting photo essay by Tommaso Protti shows a looping stretch of the Amazon River, grand and primordial. We see the river flowing in all its mightiness toward a horizon line concealed in a bank of rain clouds, or perhaps morning mist. The image is a reaffirmation of a natural region that we know to be under threat, one which we hold dear as one of the planet’s last wild places, and the photograph shows it to us as we like to imagine it: no roads score its land surface, no electrical pylons mar the blanket of forest. No hand of man is visible. To see more of Tommaso Protti images and read more of Jon Lee Anderson work. Click here for The New Yorker story.
My Khlong San Studio is in the heart of the Bangkok creative district nestled along the banks Chao Phraya river, the studio is designed for creative people who feel they’d like to share ideas, build on their existing skill sets and develop their own projects. With brilliant light pouring in makes for a wonderful working environment.
If interested please send your application to email@example.com with a brief description of why you feel you would like to be a part of the Khlong San Studio and a selection of your work.
A lovely big 1×2 meter desk is 8000 baht per month in its own 12.5 sqm section of an open plan studio, the price is all inclusive, WiFi, cleaner, and etc..
The studio is limited only to 4 places with a 1-month evaluation period after which both sides can decide if they want to continue the collaboration. Once agreed upon a 2 month deposit and 6 month commitment is required. Please contact my studio manager at firstname.lastname@example.org
I was lucky enough to meet up Jo-Anne McArthur over skype, we had a chat about my views on photography and specifically working on Trading to Extinction, if you’re interested, click here to read Jo-Anne’s full interview.
The forests of Ratanakiri province have been supporting indigenous families for centuries. Now, foreign investors and national companies are keen on reaping profits from indigenous lands. As villagers learn to defend their rights, the stakes couldn’t be higher: at risk are individual lives and an entire culture.
A project I worked on early this year with Chris Hufstader the chef writer for OXFAM America, a great story about how the indigenous people of Cambodia are fighting to keep their culture and lands alive. If you’re interested in knowing more please read the full story. Click here
Two years at sea, a brilliant documentary by director Ben Rivers and sound recordist Chu-li Shewring. Rivers prefers to shoot on an old, wind-up Bolex camera with black-and-white, 16mm film, which he then develops back in London in his kitchen sink. He has made some 20 shorts over the past decade, and they are generally free of narrative, drama and character development.
I first watched Two Years At Sea at the Danish Film institute in Copenhagen a couple of years ago, I watched it again this morning and it’s still as fresh as it was when I first saw it, this film gives the viewers plenty to do.
Nothing is explained: who we’re watching, where he is, why he lives like this, whether it’s real or not. Even the title is a mystery. Director Ben Rivers and sound recordist Chu-li Shewring take you into Williams life as he goes about his lone existence: making coffee, having a shower, reading a book. Except nothing about this man’s life is ordinary. His house is a cross between a bric-a-brac shop and a municipal dump, every corner filled with old books and records, tools, farm machinery, skis, oil lamps, woodpiles. And around his small plot are decaying caravans filled with even more junk. His “shower” is a system of hoses and taps rigged up by the kitchen window. It doesn’t matter. There’s no one else around.”
I love this film, it’s a pure documentary, simply observing life – a must watch.
After watching what I feel is one the best films movies around to today and I’m sure it will stand the test of time, Revenant. Amazing performances not just by the stars but by the whole cast which are beautifully complemented by Emmanuel Lubezki cinematography, it’s brilliant and very clever. The opening titles for example are so simple yet very clever as he brings the audience in contact with the details of this amazing landscape, which is at times breathtaking.
Here’s a great quote – By Alejandro G. Iñárritu – the director, producer, screenwriter. he insistent that computer-generated imagery not be used to enhance the film, stating: “If we ended up in green screen with coffee and everybody having a good time, everybody will be happy, but most likely the film would be a piece of shit……
I had a quick catch up with my Panos sister the one and only Chloe Dewe Mathews over email, as always Chloe isn’t one for talking about herself or her work – So I’m going to. If you don’t know her work – her work has a beautiful depth to it, for me the pleasure in Chloe’s work is not in the revealing or critiquing of anything, but in the sheer abundance of beauty is beautiful, it this that make’s you the audience breath, a kind of emotional trigger if you like. To see Chloe’s work visit her site or if you’re lucky enough visit one of the many exhibition she’ll be having in the coming months.
I woke this morning to this wonderful review of the HOPE exhibition by Reportage, it means a lot to me as this is the first time HOPE has been shown as a completed body of work and it’s the first HOPE has been publicly reviewed and secondly by an institution I deeply respect. To read the full review please visit the Reportage web site.
The HOPE exhibition runs until 17th of Oct – at The Jam Factory Gallery in Bangkok.
41/5 Charoen Nakhon Road,
Bangkok 10600, Thailand
I’ve been working on my up and coming exhibition HOPE which will be opening at the Jam Factory in Bangkok on the 17th September and run until the 17th of October. This instillation will be the first time that the complete body of work of HOPE will be seen, so if you’re in Bangkok on the 17th Sept you’re more than welcome to swing by. For more information about HOPE and future projects please subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here
TRADING TO EXTINCTION
Book launch and exhibition
Hosted by Soy Sauce Factory
Time: 7:00 pm
Address; Soi 24 Charoenkrung road,
Bangkok, Thailand 10500
Trading to Extinction book selected by AmericanPhoto, as one of the of best documentary books of 2014.
The book explores the sad truths behind this multi billion-dollar industry and is one of the most comprehensive photographic documents on the wildlife trade, spanning more than 10 years and offering a rare view into this illicit business. It is a shocking tale of cruelty, crime and human greed. This is an industry which, like the drugs trade, is fuelled by money, and whose tentacles encircle the world, from the remote forests of Asia to the trafficking hubs of Beijing, Bangkok, London, Tokyo and New York.
For those who are living or passing through Bangkok and are looking for something to do on Friday night the 29th of May, Soy Sauce Factory will be hosting Trading to Extinction book launch and exhibition. Please feel free to invite and spread the word, I’m looking forward to seeing you there. Thanks Patrick
A brilliant initiative brought on by my Panos brother Brian Sokol, please get behind this initiative, not only are you going help people in need but you’re also going to get gorgeous print too, a win win.
Brian Sokol, Panos Pictures, the World Photography Organisation and theprintspace partner to raise funds for the reconstruction of Nepal following the deadly earthquake of 25 April.
Visit the fundraising print sale page here
We will be donating all profits from print sales in support of this fundraiser for the victims of the Nepal earthquake. All fine art archival prints will be produced by theprintspace, official print partner of this year’s Sony World Photography Awards.
Please share thanks pb
It’s a real honour to have the Trading to Extinction body of work nominated for the Prix Pictet award.
Founded by the Pictet Group in 2008, the Prix Pictet has rapidly established itself as the world’s leading prize in photography and sustainability. The award aims to uncover outstanding photography applied to confront the most pressing social and environmental challenges of today.
It’s a real honour for me that Trading to Extinction has been selected by AmericanPhoto, as one of the 13 best documentary photo-books of 2014.
For the full list of selected books click here
To order your copy of Trading to Extinction standard edition please contact Dewi Lewis Publishing visit their web site
To order a copy of the limited editing please contact my studio: email@example.com
Published February 2014, by Dewi Lewis Publishing
300mm x 225mm
168 pages, 115 duotone photographs,
150gsm Gardapat Kiara, a Hardback
Limited edition of 150 copies, with a signed and numbered 8×10 inch fiber base print.
To have a sneak preview in the book please visit Vimeo
The Guardian have a run a very interesting story about the band Garbage which have sold over 17 million albums world wide and wanting to use a photographers image, but not pay for it. Read the open letter that Pat Pope wrote back to management of Garbage. – full story here
On a personal note regarding this matter: There is an NGO that would like to use my images from the Trading to Extinction project, for an up and coming campaign, as they’re an NGO I offered them a 35 images on a 3 year global license on all platforms, at 3000 USD, that is 28 USD per image per year. Their reply was we want to use them but for free. Imagine the same NGO asking a consultant with over decade of first hand experience, who’s work has been published world wide and has a number of books that have been published on the subject, two of which were voted by CNN in 2014 as the 5th and 6th most important books on the illegal animal trade. We want you to work for us, the salary is zero, you’re name will be on the paper…
Late last year I worked with a team from OXFAM America to the farthest northeast corner of Cambodia. We travelled past the Se San river too a few kilometers from the Vietnam border, is a village of 237 indigenous Jerai families called Taing Se.Most of the area even in this most remote corner of Ratanakiri province is being clear cut, burned, and replaced by rubber trees and cassava, but there are still some forests around Taing Se.
Glen Poch, 28, with her nephew in Taing Se. She says her village has the right to manage their communal lands. “I don’t want anyone invading these lands.” Photo by Patrick Brown/Panos for Oxfam America.