Nick Brandt. RUTH AND ZOSA, BOLIVIA, 2022. Limited Edition.
20 x 26.6 inch image size on 24 x 30.6 inch paper, Edition of 15
28 x 37.2 inch image size on 32 x 41 inches paper, Limited Edition of 12.
Archival Pigment Prints on Hahemhule Museum Etching 350gsm.
With signed and numbered label.
About the Work
In 2014, the heavy rains came to Ruth’s region and did not stop for several weeks. The river close to her house burst its banks and rose so high that it reached the roof. Ruth was only able to save a few things.
Water and mudslides destroyed and damaged more than 60,000 homes. Many lives were lost, and many lost their livelihoods. About 150,000 cattle also died, as well as countless wild animals. The worst flood in 60 years, the level of destruction was caused not just by climate change, but also by deforestation on mountainsides, creating increased run-off into the already swollen rivers.
Zosa, a three-toed sloth, was perhaps 8 months old here. She was confiscated by police from a restaurant in 2021. Along with many other animals, she was kept there to attract customers, after being bought as a baby in a nearby market town. Like so many other animals, her mother was killed. Zosa was rescued by Senda Verde Animal Sanctuary in Bolivia, where she now lives safely in the forest there, and where this photograph was taken.
Because sloths are the slowest-moving mammal in the world, these astonishing, gentle creatures increasingly meet terrible deaths. As more and more of the Amazon is is destroyed by fires started by man, the sloths are too slow to be able to escape. When the trees they inhabit in the forest are chopped down, they come crashing down with the trees. Countless others are run over.
About the Series
The Day May Break is an ongoing global series portraying people and animals that have been impacted by climate change, environmental degradation and destruction.
Chapter One was photographed in Zimbabwe and Kenya in 2020, Chapter Two in Bolivia in 2022.
The people in the photos have all been badly affected by climate change, from extreme droughts to floods that destroyed their homes and livelihoods.
The photographs were taken at Senda Verde Animal Sanctuary where the animals are all rescues, victims of everything from habitat destruction to wildlife trafficking. These animals can never be released back into the wild. Because they were nearly all habituated to humans, it was safe for strangers to be close to them, photographed together in the same frame.
The fog is the unifying visual, symbolic of the natural world rapidly fading from view. Created by fog machines on location, the fog is also an echo of the smoke from wildfires, intensified by climate change, devastating so much of the planet.
In spite of their loss, these people and animals are the survivors. And therein lies hope and possibility.
Learn more about Nick Brandt.