Platinum-Palladium Prints by Andrew Bale and Jon Cox
Since 2014, Jon Cox and Andrew Bale have collaborated with Ese’Eja leaders in documenting their traditions, lands, and contemporary challenges. These photographs have been created using a Platinum-Palladium printing process on Japanese Kozo paper, a support chosen to reflect the outside influences on the Ese’Eja community. After Japanese refugees settled within the Ese’Eja ancestral lands along the shores of Lake Valencia following World War II, the Ese’Eja learned to farm rice from them; even today they continue to grow rice in their gardens. Ensuing conflicts between the two groups however forced the Ese’Eja to abandon their settlements in that area.
Mercury-Developed, Gold-Gilded Daguerreotypes by Andrew Bale and Jon Cox
Like many other indigenous peoples in the Amazon, the Ese’Eja are affected by mercury that is being dumped into their environment as a byproduct of illegal gold mining. These mercury-developed, gold-gilded images of Ese’Eja community members are created to draw attention to the mercury pollution being cast upon one of the world’s last remaining Amazonian cultures and the unique environment where they live.
Developed in 1839, daguerreotypes are the earliest photographic images, and have long been described as mirrors with a memory. When viewing each daguerreotype, you first see yourself reflected on the silver surface; and as you look deeper the portrait of an Ese’Eja becomes visible.