Sebastian Sardi: Black Diamond
…It is an apocalyptic landscape. There are huge man-made craters everywhere that make up the visible landscape, the ground is burning, and a vast area is oozing of toxic gases, fires and smoke. In all of this people are digging in the soil with their bare hands. Coal is mined everywhere in Jharkhand, India, and large parts of it is sorted by hand. The locals call it; ”Black Diamond”. – Sebastian Sardi
Photographer Sebastian Sardi has a powerful project, Black Diamond, about coal mining in Jharkhand, India. When I watched his video for his current Kickstarter Campaign for a book to be published by Kehrer Verlag, it gave me full body chills. He is shining a light on a devastating world, a living hell of sorts, where human beings do their best to exist in a heinous inferno. And yet, he manages to capture his subjects with dignity and integrity, in a sense, elevating them out of their purgatory.
Sebastian Sardi was born in 1983 in Stockholm, Sweden. At the age of 22 he started taking classes in analog photography at the Peoples University in Stockholm. In 2009 he moved to Denmark to study photography at Fatamorgana the Danish school of art and photography. In 2011 he received a Bachelor’s degree in Art History and Visual Studies. He published his first photobook “A Cirkusz” in 2012. Sebastian began his work on photographing mines in 2008 after reading an article on how mining related injuries and deaths are systematically covered up by many authorities. Today Sebastian Sardi lives and works in Malmö and Copenhagen.
It is an apocalyptic landscape. There are huge man-made craters everywhere that make up the visible landscape, the ground is burning, and a vast area is oozing with toxic gases, fire and smoke. Amongst all of this, there are people digging in the soil with their bare hands. Coal is mined everywhere in Jharkhand, India, and large parts of it is sorted by hand. The locals call it; ”Black Diamond”.
Energy produced by the burning of coal is the single biggest contributor to the man-generated carbon dioxide emissions. Coal is a major part in the issue of global warming. Many people have been forced away from these areas when companies and authorities recognized the richness that hides in the ground. Underground fires force people to relocate. The mining companies claim they are unable to put out the fires, while the locals blame the companies for letting the fires burn so the coal can be reached and excavated from underneath their villages.
There is a fragile balance between nature and mankind. A sense of discomfort is felt in the slow but seemingly unavoidable struggle towards the collapse of nature. The human inability to break patterns is painstakingly visible in these photographs, as we knowingly keep on extracting the ground beneath our own feet. Black Diamond is a close (self-)portrait of the people who work with extracting coal from the ground, as well as an exploration of our dualistic human nature and how one self relates to the outside world while being a part of it.
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