The forgotten souls of a death quarry

Shortlist 2018

Antonio Aragon Renuncio

"I have always loved photography and stories." 

Antonio Aragon Renuncio has been teaching photography for over 17 years in several universities. Antonio writes about photography. His work has been published across digital and print media internationally. Founder/director of Nostromo Photographers Association (Spain), editor in Xplorer Magazine (Nicaragua), CEO of Xtreme PhotoWS (Burkina Faso), founder, leads the NGO OASIS.

Antonio has participated in more than 250 exhibitions worldwide and won more than 200 prizes: UNICEF, LBS, HIPA, Xposure, Direct Look, POYLatam, UNESCO, EPOTY, LifePressPhoto, PhotoVisa, SIPA, PX3 and others.

The Problem

The forgotten souls of a death quarry

Unbearable heat, perennial illness, landslides... death. On the outskirts of Ouagadougou, in one of the many suburbs of the Burkinabe capital, there lies the Boulmigou quarry, an open excavation where more than 1,500 people work, principally women and children. It is the last hope of employment for the poorest people of the city, those who have no other choice. €0.04 is what they earn for each bowl of rock transported or crushed - a terrible fate for the workers of this unbelievably inhospitable African underworld, where constant heat of over 40° Celsius makes work almost impossible and job safety and hygiene are almost non-existent, a perfect breeding pit for respiratory and skin diseases. Seven days a week. No break. Forever... Burkina Faso, with a population of around 18 million people, continues to be one of the poorest countries in the world. Half of the population survives on less than $1 a day, two out of five children are malnourished and do not go to school, and social welfare indicators remain below sub-Saharan averages, positioning the country on the bottom of the planet’s human development index (HDI).