Amazon Headwaters

Locals Working Toward the Global


Bruce Farnsworth

Make a donation


Las cabeceras de las Amazonas: proyectos locales/diseños globales

Small groups of residents across the inhabited rainforests of the upper Amazon region are leading cutting-edge programs in research, conservation, education and sustainable economies. Their stories—in images and testimonials—need to be told.

Amazon Headwaters is a new turn in rainforest documentary coverage, complementing the popular focus on crises with a more positive paradigm, shining the spotlight on successful regional collaborations led by those closest to the land.

Tropical ecologists will tell you that one key to saving the rainforests is integrating the support of communities that adjoin large protected areas.  To encourage this support, local residents will be both the subject of and the first audiences for Amazon Headwaters, beginning with the production of major public exhibits hosted in rainforest gateway communities of Perú, Ecuador and Bolivia.

My photography and multimedia work—facilitated by conservation and media partners in the U.S, Europe and Latin America—will be geared to educational, editorial and exhibition outlets.  With these images, I will promote the contributions of families, women and youth to rainforest solutions, illustrate the application of traditional ecological knowledge in forest management, and feature environmental portraits of many individuals to celebrate their dedication to conservation.

Amazon Headwaters: Locals Working Toward the Global will show the real faces of rainforest protection in the species-rich communities of the upper Amazon.

Project portfolio with captions



Bruce Farnsworth is a fine art and editorial photographer focusing on sustainability and the environment. His feature and assignment credits include such magazines as National Geographic, Smithsonian, High Country News, and The Nature Conservancy, and his work has been exhibited widely.

His intimate and richly textured images are influenced by profound intercultural experiences and university training in zoology, environmentalism and art. While this documentary project focuses on environmental justice, his wildlife images have been honored by the Nature’s Best Windland Rice Smith and BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competitions.

Farnsworth received the Dakota Resource Council's 2014 Above & Beyond Award for his photography of the Bear Den pipeline spill on behalf of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nations. He is further advancing the use of photography in conservation as a board member of The Biodiversity Group and adviser to the Third Millennium Alliance.

Please visit Fracking: Forgotten on the Bakken to learn the stories behind these images.

To view Farnsworth's first Blue Earth project, please visit Amazon Headwaters and this portfolio.

View by Project View by Photographer

Featured Projects

Lágrimas do Rio Doce
Tears of the Sweet River

Photographer: Leonardo Merçon

The project Lágrimas do Rio Doce (Translation: Tears of the Sweet River) is an independent photographic-audiovisual production aiming to show the real consequences of this tragedy for biodiversity, local populations and traditional communities that depend on the river to survive. The river is rooted in the culture of fishermen, native americans (índios) and riverside populations. Through this project, these communities will be given a voice.


Photographer: Mustafah Abdulaziz

Initiated in 2011, “Water” is a fifteen-year photographic project. Water and humanity are moving towards a crisis. We live in a time when 650 million people have no access to safe drinking water; when our rivers, basins and lakes are affected by decades of industry; when rising sea levels are placing Pacific Islanders in the cross-hairs of becoming the first climate refugees. The complexity of our relationship with water reflects our greater behavior towards our environment, which we’re beginning to understand has a defining impact on our planet.

Breaking the Cycle
a documentary film

Photographer: Dan Lamont and Sara Finkelstein

The facts are startling: the United States incarcerates more of its citizens than any other country on Earth. Those who fill the jails often come from fractured families with pernicious, multigenerational histories of poverty, substance abuse, mental illness, and domestic violence. Kids from such environments too often get in trouble. Incarcerated youth have a 75 percent chance of reoffending as adults and the cycle continues. It is a terrible tragedy and a colossal waste of human lives and social resources.
Knife Fight City

Photographer: Richard Steven Street

Knife Fight City explores an unacknowledged variety of American apartheid in Huron, poorest town in California, where an American peasantry slaves for industrialized agriculture in a giant farm labor exploitation camp.