Ronny Sen (@ronnysen) has been photographing the lives of those who toil on the gigantic coal mine in Jharia, India for the past four years. The Indian Instagrammer and two other photographers recently won $10,000 each from Getty Images Instagram Grant, which supports photographers using Instagram to tell under-reported stories from around the world.
Sen’s story is one common to many rural communities that depend on natural resources extraction, where a myriad of governmental, corporate and local powers have more to gain from aggravating a difficult social problem than from ending it. In Jharia, villagers who reap meager rewards from the mine are also plagued by a raging coal fire that started more than a century ago, for reasons still unknown.
One of the photos from Sen’s project Instagram account (@whatdoestheendoftimelooklike) shows a truck digging a pile of burning coal from the ground. But it is virtually impossible to put out the fire: Because of the sheer size of the mine, the truck would have no choice but to dump the burning coal back onto piles of coal nearby, Sen tells Quartz. As the government continues to expand the mining areas, the fire spreads, forcing locals to flee their homes.
What does the end of time look like? Jharia was once a green forest. Coal was discovered here in the late 18th century and by the beginning of the 19th century most of India's mineral resource was mined here. As the imperial government, mercenaries and princely families wrestled for control on distribution, Jharia withstood their greed though eventually became successor to its own suffering. A fire underground has been burning since, but its presence is now overground – inside homes , temples and schools, in churches and mosques- places that were once thriving with life are now consumed by flames. The end of time is manifested with shards and fragments; random, scattered elements of human existence, and a community without a future – plunderers of coal who move from site to site with blasting mines. Survival in an apocalyptic landscape.
Fellow grant-winner is Christian Rodriguez (@christian_foto), a Uruguayan Instagrammer documenting teenage motherhood across Latin America. On his account, the 36-year-old presents intimate portraits of those who straddle girlhood and motherhood at the same time.
His photographs come from Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia and elsewhere. Some are colorful portraits of young girls seeking beauty and joy from everyday life, while others testify to their adult responsibilities and struggles.
Angela Mieres (15) hugs her sister Patricia during labor. Her boyfriend and father of the baby was shot dead 20 days before birth. Uruguay is among the countries with the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the world. Uruguayan highest number of maternity cases; as well as the most complex; are attended at the Women's Hospital "Dra. Paulina Luisi" in the Pereira Rossell Hospital Center; reaching a 26% of the total. While in Uruguay there are 60 teenage pregnancies per 1; 000 inhabitants; the global average is 49. For authorities it has always been a problem: more prematurity; lower birth weight; higher prevalence of congenital syphilis; reproduction of poverty; and 85% of teenage mothers leaving the education system.; Most of the young people I spoke with decided to have their children and never considered the idea of abortion. Professionals working at the hospital reported that in their respective neighborhoods; these young women no longer belong to street rods; they reach a higher status: being a mother. Being a teenage mother in the neighborhoods on the outskirts of the city has another social connotation; that a middle or upper class girl wouldn’t have. For a teenage mother from a lower socio-economical status a child is a personal object; a possession nobody can deprive her from. Her child becomes a way to approach a higher level in the social ladder; it is a life project.; Results of a field study concluded that they tend to repeat their mothers' patterns; most of whom were also teenage moms. From a 23 patients research; 19 were born to teenagers. Their closest references have been very young mothers; which is well regarded in their communities and neighborhoods.; "Teenage pregnancy is an issue. Gender week in @sanjosefoto Photo: @christian_foto #nicaragua #teen #mom #everydaylatinamerica #teenmom #latinamerica #everydayeverywhere #teenager #pregnancy #sanjosefoto2016 #sister #teen #mom #labor #montevideo #uruguay
The third grantee, Grim Berta (@gboxcreative), is a photographer from Ethiopia. Berta shares bright street scenes from his home town and capital city Addis Ababa, in a series called Moving Shadows. The imaginative series caught the attention of the Getty Instagram grant’s jury, according to a statement, for its creative combination of street photography and fine art.