women working in a mine documentary photography in color by Hugh Brown

Hugh Brown Cruellest Earth

“This project is my contribution to the human anthropological record. It is my interpretation of the lives and stories of 30 million people around the world that all have their own aspirations and dreams.”

In 2010 I committed myself to documenting the work and lives of the artisanal miners of the world. Artisanal miners make up a large proportion of the world’s population that mine for various mineral resources including for coal, coltan, copper, diamonds, gemstones, gold, lead, marble, oil, silver, stone, sulphur, tin and zinc amongst other commodities with over 30 Million people involved.

I had no preconceptions of what the project would involve, other than that it would be expensive and difficult. I wanted to capture this mining taking place across a diversity of commodities, continents, cultures and topography. To date this has meant shooting in the high mountains, barren deserts and the lush tropics.

A group of people that most in the developed world have never heard of. People earning often less than US$1 a day and working in some of the most dangerous conditions imaginable. It is a story that needs, in my view, to be told. Because they give us cause to reflect on the direction of our own lives and the serendipity of chance that determines to whom and where we are born.

Hugh Brown is an Australian photographer documenting aspects of our world that are rapidly changing. People, towns, occupations, landscapes to provide a meaningful contribution to the life and conscience of our planet – Discover more of his work here.

Monthly Photo Contest

© Azim Khan Ronnie

THEME: OPEN CALL Deadline: 2 January 2020

Regardless of genres, this month we encourage all photographers to share with us their best images. Fine art, landscape, street, documentary, portrait, still life: there are no boundaries and you are free to submit any kind of work.

We want you to challenge us and respond to the theme in as many inventive ways as you can imagine: Edit carefully and show us what you’ve got!


1st Prize: $1000 · 2nd Prize: $600 · 3rd Prize: $400

Submit Now