Tierra Verde

Shortlist 2017

Javier Corso

Javier Corso (1989) is a photographer, founder and director at OAK stories (documentary agency). His photographic work originates from the need to communicate about aspects of the human condition through means of local, smaller-scale stories. Corso began working as a documentary photographer in 2011, publishing in media like AlJazeera, TIME Lightbox, GEO magazine, MO, Il Reportage, VICE, PAPEL (El Mundo), El Pais, 7K magazine or Revista 5W. Among the cultural centers that have hosted and exhibited his projects, the following stand out; The Cervantes Institute in New York, the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts and the International PHOTON Festival. His documentary work has been recognized by the International PHOTON Festival (winner grant), Px3 - Prix de la Photographie Paris (bronze medal), Moscow International Foto Awards (third place) International Photography Awards (honorable mentions) and as a finalist of the World Reporter Award / European Photographer, among others.

The Problem

Tierra Verde

The problem of land tenure in Colombia is the country’s oldest conflict. The struggle for control of the lands wealth, and the right to exploit its resources, is an ongoing dispute in which the weakest struggles for its survival. For decades the mines of Muzo, the emerald capital of the world, have produced great fortune for the mining owners. At the end of the last century, there were many conflicts between the several owners about the control of the territory in the so-called "Green Wars". In those days, the "barequeros” (emerald seekers) were gathering daily by the thousands around the valley, hoping that under the dark soil would arise the stone that would rescue them from their extreme poverty. After Colombian environmental laws prohibited the dumping of leftover grit and rocks from the mining excavation into the river, only a few dozens of emerald seekers continued to remove the debris with their bare hands.