Description: This reportage was realised in Sumatra, Indonesia, and it aims to show the contradictions of human behaviour towards the environment. On one hand human beings are destroying virgin forests, wounding and killing animals, whilst on the other they’re making every effort to save the very same animals. One day you may find some orangutans riddled by air rifle bullets, while the next day a surgeon may happen to travel all around the world to save them.

Orangutans in Sumatra are seriously threatened because of the unceasing exploitation and destruction of the rainforest. As long as the oil palm and rubber plantations, the deforestation, road construction, mines, hunting and other forms of development continue to flourish, orangutans are compelled to leave their natural habitat.

Organizations such as OIC (Orangutan Information Center), with their intervention team HOCRU (Human Orangutan Conflict Response Uni), rescue orangutans in distress; whereas SOCP (Sumatran orangutan Conservation Program) takes care of bringing them back into the wild and of introducing new genetically self-sufficient specimens in protected forests.

We share 97% of our gene pool with the orangutans: that’s clear if we observe how their behaviour is similar to ours. Nowadays, there are few more than 14,000 Sumatran orangutans (Pongo Abelii) left and 8,000 specimens of the Tapanuli (Pongo tapanuliensis), a recently discovered species, alive. They’re therefore considered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) endangered species.



Location: Chiostro Basilica di San Domenico
Piazza Madre Teresa di Calcutta, 2

Period: 2020

© Inès Koh

Photographer Biography: The Belgian photographer Alain Schroeder was born in 1955 and has gained experience in his field for more than thirty years, after beginning his career as a sport photographer in the 80’s. His pictures have been shown in over 500 magazine covers, books and publications concerning travel, art and culture. In 1989 he co-founded the Belgian photo agency Reporter; then he headed it during the golden age of digital photography.

In 2013, Alain decided to sell his Reporter shares in order to take up a new photography challenge, beginning to travel all over the world and to record stories about social and environmental issues. «I’m not a “single shot” photographer, I look for series of images», states Alain, and also «I strive to tell a story in 10-15 shots, catching the essence of a moment by paying attention to the light and the perfect framing».

Schroeder’s style has paid off: “Saving Orangutans” series has lately received two first prizes, for Nature Stories and Nature Singles, at the 2020 World Press Photo Contest.

I’m not a “single shot” photographer, I look for series of images…