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Story Publication logo February 6, 2015

Field Notes Podcast: Into the Gold Mines

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Tiny children and teens toil in the gold mines of the Philippines and Indonesia. A risky, often...

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An older miner and a younger boy are chin deep in frigid water 150-meters below the surface as they work a gold mine near Syndicate on the island of Masbate. Image by Larry C. Price. Philippines, 2012.

Larry Price has wanted to do a photography project on child labor for more than two decades. The topic he settled on, the exploitation of children in small-scale gold mining, was by no means an easy one to document. The Philippines was the first place this project took Price.

Just getting his lens on the subject proved difficult, at times requiring Price to climb down into steep, narrow shafts that plunged up to 300 feet into the earth—all while continuing to photograph, film and record.

"Oh my gosh, it's so some of these spaces, I'm literally a foot or two from the subjects . . . [I]n a couple of cases I can think of there wasn't even enough room for me to look through my camera."

Right from the start, Price was prepared for these kinds of challenges. "I'm a documentary photographer," he says, "and I truly believe that you have to get your lens on the subject whether it's uncomfortable or not."

It was all worth it for Price to bring his images to the world's attention. Speaking personally about seeing children in the hazardous conditions of the mines, he said "It's one thing to read about it, but when you actually witness it, it really is tragic."

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