In 2008 the U.S. generated 3.16 million tons of e‐waste. Of this amount, only 430,000 tons, or 13.6%, was recycled. The rest was trashed – in landfills or incinerators. In Europe it's the same thing. In Germany for example, 155,000 tones of electronic waste are moved each year, despite legal prohibitions to countries such as India, China and Ghana, where children search the garbage for recyclables. Often the waste is labeled as secondhand or even development aid and circumvents the prohibitions and controls in the EU countries. Only 20 to 30 percent of goods are still functional, the rest is toxic waste that ends up in landfill sites in Ghana.
Sodom and Gomorrah is called the slum and the adjacent electrical room in Accra (in the district Agbogbloshie), Ghana's capital. There, mostly children dismantle the toxic electrical appliances without any safety precautions. Children, who are sometimes only 6 years old, are involved in the dangerous recovery of the materials.
I traveled through various countries in South America, Asia and Eastern Europe. In doing so, the art of photography provided me with insights into completely different ways of life and living conditions. Meeting people who have to fight for survival on a daily basis raised my desire to grab my viewers’ attention and make them take action. Furthermore my images often show the effects of socio-political and economic processes on common people.
I really feel committed to Concerned Photography. My images always take sides. Their aim is not only to draw people’s attention to various social grievances but also to make us realize our own responsibility in a globalized world.
My aim is to treat people with respect and the utmost empathy without displaying poverty and suffering for the purpose of sensationalism. The human being in all its complexity is always at the heart of my work.
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