TOKYO-2016 Book / Documentary

Black World

  • Prize
    Bronze in Book (Series Only)/Documentary
  • Photographer
    Erberto Zani

BLACK WORLD Photo book on illegal mineral extractions The Book was create as a tryptych: three continents (South America, Africa, Asia) , three countries (Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, India), three illegally extracted minerals (gold, coltan , coal), three causes that lead to criminality. “It’s a black world that millions of people are forced to work in, made of mines, dust and fear. Characterized by oppression, violence and trampled human rights: where the presence of enormous deposits of minerals transform into a curse for the people through the illegality caused by games of power and corrupt economies. This book aims to be also a testimony, a voice so not to forget the “invisibles”: those who are not considered as part of history with a capital “H”, but simply try to escape being crushed by the wave of progress, often represented by interests without moral conscience. Observing how the human being adapts to every circumstance, even living without any hope in life, is the aspect that strikes the most. Black World describe one situation in Democratic Republic of Congo, where the words “Republic” and “Democratic” sound like the countless scars inflicted on its civil population, politics is administered on the basis of corruption and favoritism. A country where the absence of government, the division of power between different military groups and the intrusion of shameless and unethical foreign interests have caused a complete military arming of the economy and a real marketing of violence. In this chaos the natural resources, particularly coltan, become oxygen for the smouldering embers of war. In India, where the population of the small village of Bokohapadi is forced to steal its own coal found underground. This, because of industrial-scaled extraction projects run by government-aided companies, categorically without acknowledging or compensating the rightful owners of the land. In Colombia, in a remote area of Antioquia, a community of gold miners has been struggling to fight for its own existence for years, asking the government to legalize the mine. This request amidst the dangers of working underground with inadequate equipment and under definite threat of being killed by paramilitary groups”.

Erberto Zani is an italian freelance photographer, journalist and photo books designer, based in Basel – Switzerland since 2016. Graduate at University of Parma in History of Arts, he spended several years as photographer in advertisement sector (1998-2004). Freelance since 2008, he cooperates with companies and magazines for photographs and editorial projects.