TOKYO-2017 Editorial / Environmental


  • Prize
    Bronze in Editorial/Environmental
  • Photographer
    Mauro De Bettio

Hazaribagh, known as ‘the city of a thousand gardens’, one of the most polluted areas on the planet. It is located on the outskirts of Dhaka, a megalopolis of over 20 million people with the highest population density in the world. A flourishing, colorful and congested metropolis, where roads, air and rivers are immersed in a tirelessly chaos. Here, since always, the most precious leathers in the world are being produced. The most wanted and, at the same time, the most hated. Most of the tanneries still use outdated processing methods without proper treatment units, dumping each day twenty thousand cubic meters of toxic poison, including the cancer-causing chromium, the most dangerous part of modern tanning, into the maze of waterways that quench the country: the Buriganga river. Under the metal roofing sheet temperatures reach up to 50 degrees celsius. And in this hell, infested by the stench of rotting organic residues, hundreds of souls work, forgetting about the asthma, the burns and skin irritations that come along with this business. "The acid doesn't matter, they say, when we’re hungry, us and our families have to eat".

Born and raised in a little village in the Italian Alps, now based in Barcelona, Mauro already felt from young age the desire to tell. “Although it is difficult to express, I think that the photograph represents my way of speaking and what I try to do through my language is to capture the sense of what I breathe and touch with my hands. Not only in appearance but also, and especially, in the essence; trying to express nuances and subtleties contained in a single frame. I think that’s part of my personality and my work fully expresses what I am. My story, my soul”.