Searching for ‘black diamonds’ in the treacherous conditions of India’s ‘capital of coal’ – by Kenneth Dickerman and Sebastian Sardi (Washington Post – November 14, 2018)

In 2008, Swedish photographer Sebastian Sardi read an article about how mining-related deaths and injuries are often covered up by the various authorities who oversee such operations. Sardi was 25 at the time and had turned to photography three years earlier.

He had yet to pursue formal training as a photographer, but his interest was piqued, and he began photographing mines. Eventually, Sardi traveled to northern India’s Jharkhand state to photograph people working in Dhanbad, which many have dubbed the “capital of coal.” The resulting photos formed Sardi’s project “Black Diamond.”

When Sardi arrived in Dhanbad, he discovered people whose lives revolve around extracting coal. He photographed the men, women and even children living and working in the toughest of conditions. Sardi, in his upcoming book, describes the scene he came upon:

It is an apocalyptic landscape. There are huge man-made craters everywhere that make up the visible landscape, the ground is burning, and a vast area is oozing with toxic gases, fire and smoke. Amongst all of this, there are people digging in the soil with their bare hands.

Coal is mined everywhere in Jharkhand, India, and large parts of it are sorted by hand. The locals call it: “Black Diamond.” Energy produced by the burning of coal is the single biggest contributor to man-generated carbon dioxide emissions.

For the rest of this article and a terrific photo essay:

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