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Daniel Beltra, ABC Person of the Week

by Robert Meyers

October 15, 2009

For more than two decades, Daniel Beltr has been saving the world, one photo at a time. Now, the world is recognizing him for the astonishing work he has produced for Greenpeace and for the work he has produced as the winner of a 2008 World Photography Award special category sponsored by Sony for the Prince’s Rainforest Project.

On Friday, Oct. 16, 2009, Beltr will be named “Person of the Week” on ABC’s ” World News with Charles Gibson, at 6.30 Eastern Time, and 5.30 Pacific. The scheduled program will showcase his year-long tropical rainforest project, broadcast an interview with Beltr, and display images from an exhibition at the Mercy Corps Action Center which runs through Nov. 15th at 6 River Terrace, Battery Park City, New York, NY.

The segment will also feature footage of Beltr at work in Sumatra where he was shocked to find that more than 80 percent of the original forests have been destroyed and replaced by monocultures of palm oil, acacia, and eucalyptus.

I’ll be watching the footage of this master environmental photographer at work hoping to pick up any clues to his technique and to try and figure out how he is able to keep looking through the lens and making equally incredible images of the beauty of the natural world and the full horror of its ongoing destruction. I hope you will tune in whether you have appreciated his past work or are just discovering something new.

Through Beltr’s lens we see the majestic grandeur of polar ice formations and the plight of polar bears leaping between melting ice pods in their disappearing habitat. Through him, we look down into depths of the Amazon forest and see the variety of plant and animal life and we see it disappear in a plume of dark smoke blotting out the wide horizon as it billows from the blackened earth under broken trees. Through his images, Beltr takes us to the far reaches of the world bearing witness to what is happening to Mother Earth. He wields his camera to pierce the smoke and shatter the mirrors with which governments and corporations attempt to hide the awful truth of their plunder.

By Robert Meyers

Robert Meyers is a senior photo editor at Greenpeace USA.

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