Ami Vitale is sending one photographer to the Amazon Rainforest with $25,000

The Amazon Assignment
(Image credit: The Amazon Assignment / Ami Vitale)

National Geographic photographer and Nikon Ambassador, Ami Vitale, will be selecting one very lucky photographer to embark on a two-week trip to the Amazon Rainforest, along with $25,000 (about £21,300 / AU$36,200) as well as one-to-one mentorship from wildlife photography expert herself. 

The campaign has been launched in partnership with plant-based energy tea brand, Yachak, which specializes in organic Yerba Mate energy tea that it creates with ingredients derived directly from the Amazon Rainforest. Reforestation in the Amazon is supported by Yachak through every drink that is purchased.

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The Amazon Assignment campaign is offering one lucky winner the opportunity of a lifetime. Yachak is looking for a photographer to document its reforestation efforts and venture deep into the Amazon rainforest, where its ingredients are sustainably sourced, in collaboration with non-profit One Tree Planted

The project deadline is September 12, and Vitale will work with Yachak to select the winner, and mentor them up until the time of their journey – embarking on a two-week adventure as the brand’s exclusive on-the-ground photographer.

If this weren't exciting enough, the assignment involves the photographer not only capturing the Amazon Rainforest region in all of its glory, alongside local tour guides, but they will also receive $25,000 and a year’s supply of Yachak Yerba Mate Energy Tea to fuel them up as they go!

Photographers are encouraged to apply by submitting their best images that represent what the company is looking for (see promotional video above), and to enter they will need to submit four to six of their original nature-related photos and complete the full application online. 

Images captured by the winning photographer during the trip will both strengthen their personal portfolio, and be featured prominently across the tea maker's digital and social platforms. Together, Yachak and One Tree Planted are working to restore nearly 300 acres of green space, with a mission to plant over 500,000 trees by 2024.

We had the chance to ask Ami Vitale a few questions about the Amazon Assignment, and she shared some valuable insight into just how important this project is and how deeply interconnected we are with the world…

Courtesy of YACHAK (Image credit: YACHAK)

How does the Amazon Assignment align with your own ideals and area of expertise in conservation photography?  

There are so many stories important to the planet, to people living on it, important to business and global stability. One of the most important things we can do right now is to plant trees. It will slow the connected crises of climate change and create homes for plants and animals. YACHAK and One Tree Planted are working towards tangible goals to plant over 500,000 trees by 2024. 

I’m thrilled to be able to get involved with a project that will help give us the very oxygen we need to breathe, provide fresh drinking water and create homes for all the creatures and life we coexist with. YACHAK’s The Amazon Assignment will not only be a life-changing experience for one deserving photographer, but it will also have a huge impact. 

Courtesy of One Tree Planted (Image credit: One Tree Planted)

Do you believe that documenting the efforts of Yachak will encourage other companies to follow this example, and use more sustainable ingredients and support the Amazon rainforest? 

My hope is that Yachak’s The Amazon Assignment will be a catalyst to inspire people and brands to get actively engaged in using more sustainable ingredients and supporting the Amazon rainforest. Though the Amazon rainforest covers less than 2% of the Earth's surface, it plays a critical role in stabilizing our global climate.

Courtesy of One Tree Planted (Image credit: One Tree Planted)

How big or important of a part do you believe that photography plays in communicating our current global issues to the world? 

Photography has the unique ability to transcend languages and help us understand our deep connections to one another and to all of life on this planet.  It is the ultimate tool for creating empathy, awareness and understanding across cultures; a tool for helping us see that the survival of the planet is intertwined with our own survival. There’s a strong connection between visual imagery and empathy; when we see something, it helps us to connect our brains and hearts to feel love and compassion for other living beings. 

While science and research are critical to understanding the planet and all the life we coexist with, photography can often reach people in other profound and important ways. As photographers we have a huge opportunity to inform and influence change, but pressing the shutter is just the start.  For an image to have significance, it needs to tell a story and reach people.

(Image credit: The Amazon Assignment / Ami Vitale)

If you hadn't developed an initial interest in wildlife and documentary photography, what else do you think you'd be photographing in a parallel universe?  

I began my career covering war and the horrors of the world. After a decade, I realized a profound truth; I had been telling stories about people and the human condition but the backdrop of each and every one of these stories was the natural world. In some cases, it was scarcity of basic resources like water. In others, it was the changing climate and loss of fertile lands but always it was the demands placed on our ecosystem that drove conflict and human suffering. 

There are still billions on the planet who do not have access to clean water. Today, my work is not just about people. It's not just about wildlife either. It's about how the destiny of both people and wildlife are intertwined and how small and deeply interconnected our world is.

What would be your top criteria for selecting a photographer to experience an adventure in the Amazon?  

I am honored to see the work we receive from Yachak’s The Amazon Assignment and I am hopeful our winning photographer will have a thoughtful, unique perspective, and can tell a powerful story through photography.

(Image credit: The Amazon Assignment / YACHAK)

If you're ready for the adventure of a lifetime, apply now to be considered for this fantastic opportunity and document Yachak's developments.

• You may also be interested in 10 pro tips for wildlife photography, as well as the best lenses for bird photography, check out the 10 ultimate locations for wildlife photographers, and the best cellular trail cameras.

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Beth Nicholls
Staff Writer

A staff writer for Digital Camera World, Beth has an extensive background in various elements of technology with five years of experience working as a tester and sales assistant for CeX. After completing a degree in Music Journalism, followed by obtaining a Master's degree in Photography awarded by the University of Brighton, she spends her time outside of DCW as a freelance photographer specialising in live music events and band press shots under the alias 'bethshootsbands'.