In December 1984, a gas tank exploded at the US-owned Union Carbide pesticides manufacturing plant in Bhopal, India, releasing 40 tons of hazardous substances into the atmosphere. Earlier on, the company allegedly had reduced safety standards in the factory to save money. Thousands of people died that very night and countless others went blind or suffered from brain damage, paralysis, pulmonary edemas, heart and liver diseases and stomach problems. The long-term effects include deformities in babies and growth retardation among children. Today, the site is still contaminated and continues to release toxic chemicals into Bhopal’s soil and groundwater. As of today, nobody has accepted the responsibility to clean up and restore the industrial site. Or to help the victims. As an eye witness, Italian photographer Alex Masi feels responsible to draw awareness to this tragic situation and the still unsolved problem of toxic waste disposal through his long-term photographic project.
Curriculum Vitae: Alex Masi
After having completed a degree in ‘Photojournalism’ at the ‘London College of Communication’ in 2006, Alex has begun to investigate and document critical socio-environmental issues and human rights abuses in countries such as India, Afghanistan, Nigeria and most recently Iraq. He has devoted his attention on exposing peculiar stories of human-made injustice, focusing mainly on children, their living conditions, their health, their human rights.
In the past 3 years Alex has visited Bhopal, India, several times documenting the severe water pollution in the city and its impact the local population, as a consequence to the poisonous chemicals left behind by Union Carbide (now DOW Chemical) after the infamous 1984 gas disaster. Most recently, he has collected testimonies and produced images exposing the mysterious sharp increase in birth defects in Fallujah, Iraq, after two fierce US-led sieges in 2004.
Alex believes documentary photography ought to be an active catalyst in promoting awareness, political and juridical change, and foster action by individuals, NGOs and governmental bodies. He strives to portray my subjects with intimacy and meaning. Alex aspires to convey emotions, to present images that stimulate our deeper and most innate feelings, our senses of empathy, justice, respect and brotherhood.
His work has appeared on international publications such as ‘GQ’, ‘Newsweek’, ‘The Guardian’, ‘The New York Times’, ‘Smithsonian Magazine’, ‘Foreign Policy’, ‘Vanity Fair’, ‘Marie Claire’, ‘VIEW (Stern)’, ‘El Pais Semanal’, ‘The National Magazine’, ‘Die Zeit’, ‘Welt am Sonntag’ and ‘Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin’ among many others.