This photographic tribute to Bruno Manser is the first collaboration between Isabelle Ricq (b. 1983, France) and Christian Tochtermann (b. 1977, Poland). Isabelle specializes in documentary photography, Christian in architecture photography.
Isabelle spent several years in this Indonesian portion of Borneo photographing the destruction of the forests and their replacement by gigantic palm-oil plantations, when she first heard of Bruno Manser. Seen from the other side of the border, Sarawak appeared to have preserved some of its forested areas thanks to native resistance and to the region's high mountains, which seemed difficult to clear.
It is with this naive view that they travelled for the first time to Bario, the place where Manser had disappeared 11 years earlier and which, they believed, must have been preserved. They arrived a year after a road leading to these high plateaux had been laid, and instead of finding a peaceful forest, they found the source of the situation documented in Indonesia: the opening of the road led to the arrival of trucks and the decline of the nomad populations.
Once back in Europe, they gathered all the documentation they could find on this territory. Among these works was Voices from the rainforest, published by Bruno Manser in 1994. Upon opening it, they were surprised by the signature on the title page. It was completely unexpected, and made them feel as though Manser’s inscription was addressed to them, since this book appeared to have remained unopened. It was an invitation to take a closer look at this region, an invitation to return there, year after year.
As though in answer to that message, they are now addressing the photographs in the book to Bruno Manser, that sincere and passionate man whom they would have liked to meet and who, over the years, simply became ‘Bruno’.
Published by Sturm & Drang, 270 pgs, 28 × 23.5 cm, Hardcover, 2019, 978-3-906822-24-2