Thick smoke blankets the skies and an acrid smell hangs in the air. Indonesia is on fire, again.
Every year, the archipelago country’s forests are set blaze on a massive scale. Toxic haze from the fires spreads across the entirety of Southeast Asia. These illegal, manmade fires are the cheapest way to raze land, and for many agricultural businesses in the region, such as oil palm companies, profit comes above all else—even life.
The fine particulate matters of the resulting haze can cause a number of health problems for humans, both short-term and long-term. When the burnings start, the Pollutant Standards Index, used in Singapore to measure levels of pollutants in the air, can reach over 300 PSI—the most hazardous levels on the scale. In these conditions, respiratory illnesses can be exacerbated or new conditions may arise. In 2015, epidemiologists estimates that the smog from Indonesia’s destructive fires may have caused tens of thousands of deaths.
But aside from humans, even more affected are the wildlife that inhabit the woodlands. They’re the victims that Singaporean photographer Jeremy Wong has decided to focus on. “First fires destroy natural habitats,” he says. “Many native birds have been killed or are on the verge of extinction. To bring this issue to focus, I worked with a group of creatives to execute the concept. This project is a campaign to raise awareness and protect the birds affected by these fires.”
大火产生的雾霾颗粒物会对人体造成许多短期和长期的健康问题。每次出现大火时，空气中污染物指数可以达到 300 PSI 以上，属于最高的危险水平，由此造成的后果，是呼吸疾病加剧，甚至可能会出现一系列并发症。2015 年，流行病学家估计，印度尼西亚毁灭性的火灾产生的烟雾已造成数万人死亡。
然而，与人类相比，受影响更大的是在林地生活的野生动物，它们也是新加坡摄影师 Jeremy Wong 所关注的受害群体。Jeremy 表示：“大火摧毁了它们的家园，现在已有许多本土鸟类死亡或濒临灭绝。为了让更多人关注这个问题，我与创意人士就此事实进行了创作的构思。该项目旨在提高人们的意识并保护受大火影响的鸟类等野生动物。”
His photography series, Ornithology, features portraits of different birds that once called these burnt forests home, but these images probably don’t come in the way you might expect—no actual birds appear in his photos. Rather than touting a telephoto lens and waiting around for hours on end like typical bird photographers, Wong takes a different approach in creating his images. His portraits are created with leaves collected from Indonesia’s forests, which are assembled into the likeness of the indigenous bird species most affected by the fires. Working as a five-man team, the collected leaves were dyed in different shades of black and dried with an airgun, a process that made some of the leaves take on new shapes that could be used in different parts of the artwork. For example, curled leaves formed beaks and talons on certain pieces.
他的摄影系列《Ornithology》（鸟类学）以曾在森林中栖息的鸟类为主题，但出人意料的是，他的作品未现真实的鸟类。他并没有像别的摄影师那样举着长焦镜头，等待好几个小时来拍摄，而是以印度尼西亚森林里收集的树叶，拼凑出受大火影响的鸟类肖像。他和其他 4 名团队成员，将收集来的叶子染成深浅不一的黑色，然后用气枪吹干。整个过程中，叶子会呈现出不同的形状，并成为艺术品的一部分，例如，卷曲的叶子就可以用来作为鸟嘴和爪子。
Wong has created portraits of a hornbill, a kingfisher, an owl, an eagle, and a parrot. For each of the five birds, Wong goes as far as to set certain parts of the leaf assemblages on fire—the smoldering leaves a not-so-subtle critique on the harm we’re causing to these animals and the uncaring ways that humans are encroaching on the natural world. After the pieces are photographed, they’re discarded with a controlled burn. The ephemeral nature of these pieces is in itself a commentary on the fragility of nature, and how if people don’t start caring more about the environment, the natural world that we take for granted—like these bird portraits—may one day cease to exist.