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Dream Beyound LIFE

Anamika Chowdhury | Bangladesh

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We adorn our bodies, transports and homes with the skin of conquered animals. The current worldwide market for leather is booming. But unlike the wholly organic methods used by our forbears, the modern leather industry is simultaneously killing the local environment and the people that work there with a toxic slurry of chemicals.

I still remember after return from taking pictures in the tanneries the smell which came out was really obnoxious. Setting foot in the tanneries area is an assault on the senses. The scene is seemingly post-apocalyptic, the stench overwhelming and almost vomit inducing. But among those staring were people with nice leather jackets or leather handbags. These made me want to go back even more and document the working conditions of those, who are not seen, but provide the luxury of our daily lives. When I first entered the tanner’s area, I was at the same time fascinated by the friendliness of the people and shocked by their working conditions. People were working in a knee deep soup of skin leftovers and smelling flesh. Young men were carrying skin on their head through the burning heat. I felt like having arrived in a time bubble. Some of the tanneries haven’t modernized the technology for decades. Workers only rely on their muscle power and don’t earn more than a couple of amounts a day.

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