Tommaso Protti


10th edition

Carmignac Photojournalism Award

The 10th Carmignac Photojournalism Award is dedicated to the Amazon and the issues related to its deforestation. It is chaired by Yolanda Kakabadse, Minister of the Environment of Ecuador between 1998 and 2000 and President of WWF from 2010 to 2017. The Award was awarded to Tommaso Protti.

From January to July 2019, Italian photojournalist Tommaso Protti, accompanied by British journalist Sam Cowie, travelled thousands of miles across the Brazilian Amazon to create this reportage. From the eastern region of Maranhão to the western region of Rondônia, through the states of Pará and Amazonas, they portrayed life in modern day Brazilian Amazon, where social and humanitarian crises overlap with the ongoing destruction of the rainforest, lungs of the planet.

“I wanted to illustrate the social transformations, focusing on the veiled truth of the bloodshed and destruction that are currently taking place in the region. These diverse forms of violence are the consequences of changes in the global market, as well as of the exponential increase of global consumption, from cocaine to beef. Scientists claim the forest is reaching a point of no return because of deforestation, fuelled by illegal logging, and because of land grabbing, agricultural expansion, state and private sectors led development and resource extraction projects. I believe it is important to raise awareness of this situation and question it.”

Tommaso protti
In August 2019, fire raged in the forest near Porto Velho, in the state of Rondônia.
© Tommaso Protti for Fondation Carmignac
Araribóia, Maranhão. A member of the Guajajara forest guard in a moment of sad silence at the sight of a toppled tree cut down by suspected illegal loggers
© Tommaso Protti for Fondation Carmignac

The Laureate

Tommaso Protti (Italy, 1986) lives and works in São Paulo, Brazil. He started his career as a photographer in 2011 after graduating in Political Science and International Relations. Since then, he has devoted himself on creating his own long-term projects.

His work has been exhibited internationally at The Royal Albert Hall (London), Greenwich Heritage Centre (Woolwich, UK), Benaki Museum (Athens), MACRo (Rome), 10b Photography gallery (Rome), Fotoleggendo festival (Rome), Les Rencontres d’Arles festival (France), Prix Bayeux- Calvados des Correspondants de guerre festival (France), Belfast Photo festival (Ireland), C40 Mayors Summit (Mexico City), UN COP 22 (Marrakesh, Morocco), PARTE Contemporary Art Fair (São Paulo, Brazil).

His photographs have been published in major titles including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time, National Geographic, The New Yorker, The Guardian, The Independent, Le Monde, Corriere della Sera, among others. 

He also works with international organizations such as the United Nations. 

Tommaso is a member of Angustia.

Tommaso Protti © Gabriel Bianchini

"I wanted to break away from the stereotype of the Amazon as an untouched land with isolated tribes."

Tommaso protti
The reportage won the Photography Of the Year 2020 in the category World Understanding Award
Manaus, Amazonas. The richest and most populous city in the Brazilian Amazon attracts thousands of migrants
© Tommaso Protti for Fondation Carmignac

The Amazon

The Amazon is a vast region covering the territory of nine nations: Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. The region has a surface area of 5,500,000 km2 and is crossed by the Amazon river, the second longest river in the world and the largest by discharge volume of water.

The Amazon alone accounts for half of the remaining tropical forests on the planet. It is home to 70% of the world’s biodiversity and to one in ten of the world’s species. This territory is home to 30 million people, including 350 indigenous groups, most of whom live in their natural habitats, but the development of economic activities in the region mean that this ecosystem is under more threat than ever before.

Since 1999 at least 2,200 new species have been discovered in the Amazon biome, but with 17% of the Amazon’s surface area already destroyed, the rainforest is increasingly vulnerable.

Responsibility for the degradation and destruction of this fragile natural environment lies with climate change, but also human activity. The consequences are multiple and both local and global: greenhouse gas emissions, destruction of biodiversity, hydrological alterations and even soil erosion.

◄ In black, forest loss (deforestation, fires) between 2001 and 2018
Million km of forest
0 K
fires in 2019
0 %
of forest in - 50 years
Pau d’Arco, Pará. A landless peasant erects a sign claiming occupation of the Santa Lucia farm, where ten land activists were killed by police in May 2017
© Tommaso Protti for Fondation Carmignac

The Jury

CHAIR — Yolanda Kakabadse Minister of the Environment in Ecuador (1998-2000) and President of WWF (2010-2017)

Simon Baker Director of the Maison Européenne de la Photographie (MEP)

Clinton Cargill Photography Director of Vanity Fair

Alessia Glaviano Photography Director of Vogue Italia, L’Uomo Vogue, Web Editor and Director of Photo Vogue Festival

Magdalena Herrera Photography Director of Geo Magazine France

Kadir van Lohuizen Photojournalist

Yuri Kozyrev Photojournalist

Stéphen Rostain Director of Research (Archéologie des Amériques) at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS)

Indigenous territory of Kayapó Pará. Kayapós prepare for the ancient Kukrut ritual.
© Tommaso Protti for Fondation Carmignac


4.12.2019 – 16.2.2020 Event finished

Maison Européenne de la Photographie

5/7 rue de Fourcy 75004 Paris


4.12.2019 – 10.1.2020 Event finished
Paris City Hall Gates

29 rue de Rivoli 75004 Paris


9.6.2020 – 16.7.2020 Opening soon

Saatchi Gallery, London

Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Rd, Chelsea, London SW3 4RY


Amazônia, Life and Death in the Brazilian Rainforest

Co-published by: Reliefs / Fondation Carmignac
Release date: November 7, 2019
Bilingual: French/English
Size: 24 × 28 cm, 144 pages
Contributors: Stéphen Rostain, Sam Cowie, Tommaso Protti
Price: 35 euros, 45 USD, 58 CAD, 35 GBP
Distributed by: Harmonia Mundi

The Wash. Post  Kenneth Dickerman

“Protti’s resulting photographs are both haunting and poetic, presenting a harrowing picture of what life is like for people living in the Brazilian Amazon (…) a place that is grappling with social and humanitarian crises concurrently with the destruction of the rainforest.”

M Blogs Anne-Sophie Novel

“If this geographical area was chosen before the world discovered the devastating forest fires this summer, this report gives a spectacle that no longer flies over the devastation seen from the sky but reveals the devastation that is also taking place at human level.”

Radio Nova Luca Beux-Prere

“Ninety shots for a walk, Tommaso’s. The viewer’s gaze changes as the Amazonian walk progresses. No one, on leaving, will ever again have the same look on this immense territory that is changing, and whose fate is beginning to worry, and finally, beyond its own limits.”

The other Laureates

Tommaso Protti