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VANISHING COAST by Michael Barrientos



VANISHING COAST..THE STORY “The devastating impact of climate change, mainly caused by ballooning carbon emissions from rich Western nations, will hit hardest in Africa, a United Nations report has warned…Up to 30 % of Africa's coast could disappear as sea levels rise from between 15cm to 95cm in the next 100 years. Important cities such as Cape Town, Dar es Salaam and Maputo are at risk.” – The Independent, Nov. 6, 2006

Vanishing Coast is an examination of the people who make Maputo’s beaches unique, find them sacred and spiritual, or use them for recreation or their economic livelihood. Michael Barrientos began the project in 2007, initially building on an idea to document Lisbon’s marginal from Lisbon to Cascais. However, the evidence of coastal erosion in Maputo was so shocking, he immediately changed his focus. As a staff photographer at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune in the U.S., Barrientos worked on an award-winning project called “The Beach Builders.” This project documented the impact of coastal erosion in Florida and other states. He tapped into that experience and began researching the problem in Maputo. The collapsing road between the Mercado do Peixe and Costa do Sol was the most glaring example of erosion along the Marginal. Repairs were made and sea walls were built in an effort to prevent the ocean’s advance. Exposed roots of casuarina trees, originally planted to slow erosion, hang like skeletons to show where sand dunes once stood. And the most striking example of what Maputo’s beaches looked like less than 80 years ago are found in photographs of colonial Lourenço Marques by photographer José dos Santos Rufino. This photo, taken circa 1929, shows a vast coastline with large beaches that no longer exist, as do other historical photos taken throughout the 20th century. An advisor to the Mozambican government predicted that within 10 to 50 years Maputo’s beaches will disappear. The trees planted to slow deterioration are regularly felled and efforts to slow erosion, such as building seawalls and dumping construction rubble along the beach have failed. Experts attributed the 2007 flooding of Bairro dos Pescadores to climate change and Costa do Sol’s greatest protection from the Indian Ocean, Xefina Grande, is at risk of disappearing from the effects of rapid erosion. Rather than photograph the progression of the coast’s physical deterioration, Barrientos chose to create a portrait of the coast through the people. This is a look of what will be lost without intervention.

Print sales available upon request.

Pescadores Bairro do Pescadores

Mercado do Peixe Bairro do Pescadores

Saltador Costa do Sol

Ponte da Costa do Sol Bridge Costa do Sol

Banhador do C達o Costa do Sol

Apanhador de Ameijoa Costa do Sol

Futebol de Fim de Semana Costa do Sol

Danรงa de Casamento Costa do Sol

Vendaval Costa do Sol

Lenhador Costa do Sol

Bareirra Praia do Triunfo

Agua Dulce Triunfo

Banho de Sol Triunfo

Sirens Triunfo

Moรงambique Triunfo

Em Construção Triunfo

Maziones Triunfo

Shiboa Triunfo

Sacrificial Triunfo

Casuarina Tree Triunfo

Rezando na Mare Vazanta Triunfo

Crentes Danรงarinas Triunfo

Ziones Mercado do Peixe

Autobaptismo Mercado do Peixe

Purificação Mercado do Peixe

Baptismo Mercado do Peixe

Limpeza do Espiritu Mercado do Peixe

Vanishing Coast Miramar

Futevolei Miramar

Music Video Miramar

Miguel Malimo Miramar

Vendadora de Cerveja Miramar

Amantes Miramar

Igreja Universal Miramar

Rede de Pesca Miramar

Areia Miramar

Banhista Marginal

Sono Marginal

Meia Maratona Marginal

Roupa Para Lavar Praรงa Robert Mugabe

MICHAEL BARRIENTOS Michael Barrientos is a documentary photographer based in Maputo, Mozambique. In 1993, he began his journalism career in Central California working as a news writer but switched to photography and has worked on newspaper staffs across the United States including the San Antonio Express-News, The Sarasota Herald-Tribune and most recently The New York Times. He was a stringer for the Associated Press covering the U.S./Mexico border in Texas and began his current freelance career in Portugal in 2005. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, USA Today, MSNBC and The Independent Magazine. His non-editorial clients range from corporate institutions such as Barclays and Osram to non-profit organizations such as The International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs (ICAP), The HALO Trust and Iris Ministries Inc. Barrientos is a graduate of California State University-Fullerton and will finish the Master's Program in documentary photography and photojournalism at London College of Communication in late 2009.

All photographs Š Michael Barrientos, 2009 Design by Melissa van Herksen

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Printed in Mozambique

Vanishing Coast  

Vanishing Coast is an examination of the people who make Maputo, Mozambique's beaches threatened by sever coastal erosion unique, find them...

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