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TUESDAY May 19, 2020 : WORLD IS MY OYSTER by ZUMA Press Photographer Svetlana Bachevanova: extraordinary Bulgarian photojournalist. 2001 emigrated to USA. 2010, launched FotoEvidence, a NGO supporting the role photojournalists play, with a book publishing award. Svetlana gives us, a behind the scenes look at struggling world of oyster farming. France is in top five of deaths, economic consequences growing. Her elegant reportage is about a hippy looking, thirty-something millennial turned oyster farmer, as his father Guy and his grandmother before him: WORLD IS MY OYSTER.
© zReportage.com Story of the Week #737: TUESDAY May 19, 2020 : WORLD IS MY OYSTER by ZUMA Press Photographer Svetlana Bachevanova: extraordinary Bulgarian photojournalist. 2001 emigrated to USA. 2010, launched FotoEvidence, a NGO supporting the role photojournalists play, with a book publishing award. Svetlana gives us, a behind the scenes look at struggling world of oyster farming. France is in top five of deaths, economic consequences growing. Her elegant reportage is about a hippy looking, thirty-something millennial turned oyster farmer, as his father Guy and his grandmother before him: WORLD IS MY OYSTER.
Basile Compan wears a mask while taking the bags with oysters from the boat to the farm where they will be cleaned and organized in boxes for delivery to customers.
© Svetlana Bachevanova/ZUMA Wire
Basile tends to one of the oyster tables on the family farm. Last year the company lost 5000kg (11,000 lbs) of oysters due to the heat wave that struck the area.
© Svetlana Bachevanova/ZUMA Wire
Basile wraps the oyster tables with fishing net for protection from predators. Surrounding the oyster tables with a net is very important for the period the baby oysters are set to mature. Some fish, like the dorade can be very dangerous for the young oysters.
© Svetlana Bachevanova/ZUMA Wire
Strings with oysters hanging from Basile Compan's oyster tables in the South of France. The oysters are taken out of the water to kill the algae that accumulates with time over the oysters and exposure to air and sunlight helps them grow faster.
© Svetlana Bachevanova/ZUMA Wire
Basile returns with his boat from the Etang de Thau basin, near the village of Marseillan. This year, the coronavirus pandemic hit, shutting down restaurants and events and over a period of a week or so, all of their sales went to zero.
© Svetlana Bachevanova/ZUMA Wire
View to the Etang de Thau basin, near the village of Marseillan in the South of France, where 750 oyster farms with 2,750 oyster tables are harvesting some 13,000 tons annually.
© Svetlana Bachevanova/ZUMA Wire
Basile removes oysters from his boat which were collected at his family's oyster tables in the Etang de Thau basin, which is famous for its top quality oyster production.
© Svetlana Bachevanova/ZUMA Wire
Basil lifts the oysters out of the water to help them grow faster and bigger using a traditional wheel. One of the biggest challenges oyster farmers in the South of France facing with the rising temperature is that the sea water may become so still and warm during the summer and oysters can then die from a lack of oxygen.
© Svetlana Bachevanova/ZUMA Wire
Cages for baby oysters hang at the Basile Compan oyster farm in the South of France. Inside they will be placed to mature before being transfered to the sea. In the Etang de Thau basin there are about 750 farms with 2,750 oyster tables are harvesting some 13,000 tons annually. This provides for about 8.5 percent of France's consumption.
© Svetlana Bachevanova/ZUMA Wire
Basile prepares the cages for the baby oysters where they will be placed to mature. After the pandemic hit oyster sales practically ceased, but now the company takes text and email orders and began to deliver with his truck fresh oysters to customers from the area.
© Svetlana Bachevanova/ZUMA Wire
Sunlight falls on baby oysters that have grown big enough to be paired and glued to ropes that will be attached to the oyster tables to mature out in the bay.
© Svetlana Bachevanova/ZUMA Wire
Basile watches the sun rising over the oyster tables of his family run oyster farm in the South of France. Because of the heat, the work day for most farmers starts around 5 am.
© Svetlana Bachevanova/ZUMA Wire
Svetlana Bachevanova

Svetlana is a long time photojournalist and the publisher at FotoEvidence, a publishing house and activist organization that supports documentary photography focused on human rights and social justice. Svetlana became a photojournalist during the transition from dictatorship to democracy in her native Bulgaria. Passionate about social justice she joined the first democratic newspaper 'Democrazia,' documenting the end of a long lasting Communist regime. For seven years she served as the chief photographer for the newspaper. In 1997 Svetlana moved on to become the first woman chief photographer for the Bulgarian News Agency. In 2001, Svetlana moved to New York where she and her partner David Stuart founded FotoEvidence in the tradition of using photography to draw attention to injustice, oppression and assaults on human dignity wherever they may occur. FotoEvidence is now internationally recognized as a premier publisher of documentary photography and an active partner with human rights organizations.:737



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