Verve: a new website devoted to documentary photography

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Workers in Howrah, India making manhole covers for Con Edison. © 2007 Adam Huggins

Geoffrey Hiller edits and publishes Verve, a concise, informative blog all about contemporary documentary photography around the world. When you’re ready to explore some serious issues that rarely make it to mainstream media, hunker down and check out Verve.
Here’s what Hiller had to say about this photo by Adam Huggins, in Verve’s posting on June 30, 2008:

Adam Huggins (b. 1981, Canada) became interested in photography in 2000. Since then he has been traveling and taking pictures that document society and the world we live in. His photography has been exhibited at : Centre Pompidou, Paris, La Triennale di Milano, The Shanghai Art Museum, and Shiodomeitalia Creative Center in Tokyo. He has worked with numerous publications including: The New York Times, ELLE, Der Spiegel, COLORS, and the International Herald Tribune. In late 2004 he witnessed the devastation caused by the South Asian Tsunami to numerous fishing communities along the southern coast of India. The theme of fishing developed in his latest exhibited work.
About the Photograph:
In late 2007 The New York Times published Adams story and excellent multimedia piece about how New York City’s ubiquitous manhole covers are made at a foundry in India and soon after, it became a widely debated topic of conversation in numerous newspapers’ commentary and opinion pages around the world. The photo-essay drew attention to the alarming lack of safety protections in place for the Indian workers that endure extremely hazardous working conditions in order to produce manhole covers for New York and other municipalities throughout the United States, calling for State legislatures and prompting Con Edison, one of the private utilities companies that purchases these items, to rewrite their future international contracts to include safety requirements. He was subsequently awarded a Certificate of Special Merit at the 2007 Human Rights Press Awards in Hong Kong for this body of work.

Be sure to look at Hiller’s “personal” blog, too, which has a lighter conversational tone, and is loaded with great photos, excellent writing and insight. He’s teaching visual communications and interactive media at the Independent University of Bangladesh, while doing research funded by his Fulbright award. He updates that blog regularly, too.

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