As much as technology lies at the crux of our everyday lives, the world is overwhelmingly fixated on the newest online trends, the shiniest gadgets. This fascination, however, is very much a privilege, and that much becomes evident when looking through the photos in German photographer Kevin McElvaney’s Agbogbloshie series. Named after a slum in the city of Accra in Ghana where McElvaney visited for four days, the photo series is composed of a series of portraits of scavengers against a singularly apocalyptic backdrop of raging fires that give rise to thick, black plumes of toxic smoke. The images themselves are undoubtedly shocking, much like the rest of McElvaney’s body of work — to date, he has covered such wide-ranging subjects as the residents of the Palestinian West Bank, kids of South Africa’s impoverished townships, and Indonesian miners of volcanic sulfur. Providing an intimate, yet highly discomforting look at those fallen by the wayside of globalization, McElvaney’s unflinching subjects astonish for their seeming normality in the midst of their hellish surroundings — indeed, our human commonalities are all the more outstanding the more outlandish the background. For more photos from this series and to support McElvaney’s initiative, visit his Facebook page and website here.
- Kevin McElvaney
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