Federico Busonero



In the years 1990-1995 I  conducted an extensive photographic research of the coral reefs of Fiji. The study was published in 1996 as a book, Fiji The Uncharted Sea, by the European Union and the Government of Fiji. The 153 photographs publication aims to show the irreplaceable beauty and importance of the coral reef ecosystem of Fiji, and to raise awareness for its protection and conservancy. Today the protection of the coral reef is even more urgent because coral reefs in the South Pacific as well as worldwide are on the brink of vanishing due to the consequences of climate change as well as other natural and human factors.

By its own nature, photography is concerned with the unstated and the unseen; by associating the word carbon, a gas which is non visible, within the luxuriant forest and the underwater reef, I wish to remind that the forest and the sea are not a commodity for our use neither a lost paradise for tourists but a living organism which plays a crucial role in maintaining the balance of the whole environment we live within. For me to photograph what exists and that one day may no longer exist - the forest, the sea - is a duty, and an act of gratitude. From this gratitude a new comprehension may arise - an effort not only to use nature as we image it but to live with nature.

The first two chapters of the project CARBON are introduced by a statement which explains the purpose of the photographic project: the photographic sequence visualises the beauty of the tropical forest and the coral reef of Fiji. Underwater images have been selected from the study I carried earlier in Fiji, some of them have been published elsewhere, others are unpublished. The photographs of the tropical forest were made in 2018/2109 in the Northern part of Fiji. The two chapters are not separate, rather they are perceived as a continuum: the sequence shows the reef and the forest as a unity, both visually and conceptually: from the forest into the sea, and from the sea into the forest - the continuity of deeply interconnected ecosystems, which manifest themselves with a visual coherence. The mangroves far away on the line of the horizon (ὁρίζωv - where the gaze ends) suggest that the forest and the sea, here and far beyond, are two intimately interdependent worlds which cannot exist without each other. Together they are one and offer to us the unity of landscape and seascape:

“Landscape is defined by our vision and interpreted by our minds. It is a panorama which continuously changes as we move along any route. Strictly speaking, we are never in it. It lies before our eyes and it becomes real only as we become conscious of it. […] Environment sustains us as creatures, landscape displays as cultures.” D.W. Meining

The third chapter of the book shows photographs of the altered forest and reef, — modifications and consequences due to human intervention as well as natural factors, including hurricanes, sea level increase, sea temperature warming. The chapter contains two texts, Carbon, by scientist Giorgio Vacchiano, an expert on carbon and climate change, and Climate Change, by the author.