There’s a drought in the rainforest. ~ Lee Clockman
We call it brazil because the wood is red and resembles hot coals, and thus got the name of Brazil. But in order that in this respect we may vex the Devil who has laboured so hard and is still labouring to efface the memory of the Holy Cross and to exile it from the hearts of men (the Cross by means of which we were redeemed and delivered from the power of his tyranny), let us restore the name and call it “Province of Santa Cruz,” as in the beginning. (That illustrious and famous writer, João de Barros, in his First Decade, dealing with this discovery, shows that it was first so called.) For in truth it is more estimable, and sounds better to our ears as Christian folk, to hear the name of the rood upon which the mystery of our Redemption took place, than of the tree which serves for no other uses than the dyeing of cloth, or similar purposes.
~ Pero de Magalhães, The Histories of Brazil, 1576
Between 1987 and 1996 Lee Clockman made three journeys to the Amazon Basin to photograph with large format view camera the deforestation of the tropical rainforest. Calling the project Ground Truth, he concentrated his work in the Brazilian state of Rondônia, an area considered Ground Zero for deforestation. His photographic work in the Amazon has received the emboldened support of Sir Ghillean Prance, Director, Kew Gardens, UK; Dr. Richard Evans Schultes, Director Emeritus, Botanical Museum of Harvard University; and Arnold Newman, Executive Director, International Society for the Preservation of the Tropical Rainforest. To see and read more of Ground Truth, click here.
Lee Clockman has been photographing professionally since 1971, when he worked for Academy Award-winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler in Hollywood. He has studied under such renowned photographers as Lee Friedlander, Aaron Siskind and Robert Frank. In 1985 he was hired as the first full-time photographer for the Dallas Museum of Art, where he developed the photographic department and produced exhibition catalogs. His work has been exhibited widely and is featured in the books American Furniture in the Bybee Collection (which won the Montgomery Prize) and, in connection with Harvard University, Yaxchilan: The Design of a Maya Ceremonial City, representing the most extensive documentation of the Mayan site since the 1800s.All images © Lee Clockman. For reprint rights contact the artist at leeclockman [AT] gmail [DOT] com.