On the outskirts of Kathmandu, the landscape has turned into a hellish and seemingly endless tract of chimneys, sweat and smoke.

“Les Miserables” is meant to show the reality surrounding the brick factories of Nepal. This industry, which destroys both people and the environment, is a never-ending process. I chose to highlight these people for two reasons: to improve their living conditions and to stop the ecological disaster that results from this business.

Factory workers live in dusty, mud shacks owned by their employers. Laborers start carrying bricks before dawn only to return back to the slums once the light has disappeared. They are greeted at work by the unyielding heat of furnaces and in both places by choking smoke and dust.

Women and child laborers carry back-breaking loads day after day. They only stop their infernal routine to extract more clay that will allow them to continue their terrible labor.

—Harry Fisch

Editor’s note: Above, we have published a small selection from Fisch’s much larger series and more extensive bodies of work. You can find more on his website or in his LensCulture profile below.

You can help support change for these exploited workers by supporting the efforts of Better Brick Nepal.