Vanishing Faces, Disappearing Places
The current pace of development around the world has brought widespread concern about a loss of diversity in nature and the need to protect endangered species. But the changes brought by the forces of globalization, industrialization and urbanization affect not only animals and plants. People and their cultures, ways of thinking and ways of living that have been in existence for thousands of years, are also at risk.
Vanishing Faces, Disappearing Places has been prepared to provide a record of some of the world’s most remote and most distinct societies; people whose cultures are threatened by the encroachment of technology and industry. Increasingly, indigenous people are leaving their ancestral homelands for barrios, shanty towns and lost cities, either forced out by rapid development or lured by the promise of a better life. In the process, they are leaving behind local languages and customs, succumbing to the pressure to conform to a world that is becoming less varied and more homogenous.
Not yet a lament for lost ways of life, this book is a warning: a challenge to reflect on the price we pay for progress and whether the potential losses are justified by the gains. Some of its images were taken in regions where distance and isolation will no longer protect the ancient customs of those newly exposed. Others capture groups caught between old ways and new, showing the turmoil brought when modern society dislocates the local population then leaves them behind. All strive to convey both the hardship and the triumph of their lives.
A celebration of diversity, these photographs call out for balance in economic development and social transformation. They are a reminder that people everywhere must be able to enjoy and contribute to an advancing world, without sacrificing their identities. The world’s diverse faces and intriguing places enrich us all. Knowing those that vanish will never be restored, we must proceed with caution, before it is too late.