Work from 2005 on e-waste in China, then a center for the global trade in toxic electronic waste, much of it arriving in the Chinese port city of Taizhou. 24 hours a day ships arrived in the city's harbor carrying cargo of waste, including millions of computer parts. These parts flowed out of the port in trucks into the city and hinterland where hundreds of tiny work shops broke down the parts, melting off the precious metals and using acids to separate gold from circuits boards, mobile phones, monitors and other computer parts. Neighborhoods were filled with the noxious and toxic fumes of this unregulated industry and thousands of men, women and children are exposed to a toxic cocktail of fumes and dust released, often being released right next to farming fields.
This work was used widely by various US non-profit groups fighting the trade and e-waste that successfully banned exports from the US and Europe. It was also shown at the prestigious Visa Pour L'Image photo festival in Perpignan, France in 2006.
My time in Taizhoiu also marked the third time I was detained in China doing my work. Taken along with my fixer to a police station to be questioned for 4 hours, I had already hidden my film in our car, carrying only dummy rolls into the station. I had learned early on in my work in Asia to never argue with authorities - play stupid, be humble and apologize and invariably you'd be let go with a warning. As I left the police station the lead interrogator suggested I go take photographs of the Great Wall of China instead.