Saturday, February 27, 2010

"The sun rises over Bokahapadi Village in Jharia, Jharrkhand, India, February 18, 2010. Women and children as young as 5 years old scavenge daily at the open and underground mines Jharia. The coal fields here were once used by companies, but then abandoned. The coal was exposed to the atmosphere, ignited, and underground fires spread across the towns. Locals in Jharia live over dozens of these underground coal fires that pump out toxic fumes and form fire pits that have led to several deaths and collapsed homes. They work alongside the fires, breathing fumes for up to 9 hours a day. The coal they collect earns them around $1 a day at the local markets. With coal scavengering a primary source of income for many residents, a proposed government relocation of residents is being met with resistance. Coal supplies 70% of India’s energy and the largest concentration of the country’s coal fields are in Jharrkhand."

Please view the entire project here

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I spent a total of 11 hours on the train to and from Calcutta yesterday to get permission to shoot for a project I'm working on in Dhanbad, only to get all the way there and find out the director I needed to speak with wasn't in. It's been three weeks here in India now and I'm trying to keep a zen and open mind, but there are a few things to get used to, like Indian bathrooms, hygiene, trains, queues (or lack thereof), being constantly stared at and followed around by stunned people and children when I shoot. Every once and a while I find my New York anger boiling up but it's clear that my western middle class frame of mind simply won't work for me here. For all my bitching I have to give credit, just when I feel ready to throw up my hands in frustration something seems to pop up and give me exactly what I need.