Death Valley

Shortlist 2021

Subhrajit Sen

Subhrajit Sen is an India-based documentary photographer. His work predominantly concentrates on the socio-political issues that are jeopardizing livelihood while being ignored by mainstream media. After completing graduation, he enrolled at Counter Foto, a center for visual arts, Dhaka, in 2016 to learn documentary photography. With an urge to thwart the inevitable effects of Uranium Mining, he started his photography career through a project named Death Valley. It has been awarded Ian Parry Scholarship 2020 and received Social Documentary 2018 grant by SACAC & MNF New Delhi.

The Problem

Death Valley

Before being turned into a Uranium mining zone in 1965, Jadugoda, in Jharkhand State, was a lush green forested area inhabited by tribes. In its lust for resources to generate Nuclear energy and weapons, the Indian Government sacrificed the forest and its inhabitants. The displaced people shifted into the periphery of a 160 km uranium mine and remained very much within a dangerous radiation zone. From then on, the rates of miscarriages, cancer, tuberculosis, and many forms of genetic disorders increased to a hopeless rate. For water, these people used to depend on the Subarnarekha River. The mines' toxic waste not only contaminated this river but also ruined its aqua life. My work describes how these people have been displaced and devastated by the Indian Government's hunt for radioactive ores. This story points out how power centers can operate with minimum concern for nature and those who live in nature.