Peasants at the community of Crescencio Gonzalez harvest sesame

The United Soya Republic

This project started with the strange quest to photograph a hidden giant. I was told it had engulfed communities and raided forests and was always on the look-out. It was difficult for me to understand where it was and who was feeding it, and the curiosity and the challenge to photograph it set me off. The journey took me over several years from farming communities in rural Paraguay to the houses of large-estate owners in Argentina, where I thought it resided. But it wasn’t there. The land-owners told me the giant was actually behind the traders and the transnational companies. The seeds producers. The food manufacturers. And even farther, in the form of the everyday consumers in Europe, China or the US. We were all part of it. 

This story looks at the consequences of global development on a human scale. It documents cases of land-grabbing and booming economic growth. Of migration and environmental threats. Of food and consumption. But it is in the end a story about power. On who holds it and who is powerless against it. Because power always comes at a price. And who holds the power and who pays the price, is not always clear.