Don’t always be gracious

Mining photography has taken me to four continents on various assignments, however the African and South American Continents are my favourite to photograph.
Living in, and photographing in third world countries puts me face to face with poverty, and this is where I find similarities in dealing with people from these communities. They are (almost) always friendly, open, and will generously share their last bit of food with you as their guest…refusal is disrespectful; so stop trying to be gracious and eat up!

In the vicinity of the mines, one usually finds artisanal, or small scale miners hard at work. Digging the precious minerals out of the ground, and selling them to the local buyer in their respective village or town. It is very hard and extremely dangerous work, related deaths is not uncommon. These small scale miners have been mining this way for generations, long before the mining companies moved in, it is a way of life, and probably will continue for generations to come or until the resource is depleted.

In Guinea, West Africa, these small scale miners are known as Orpaillers, and is where I took these images.

Blog - Karl Schoemaker Photography