In a country that is always on the brink of tragedy, these men struggle against the misery and misfortune of the inaccessible mountain region where they were born. They test the boundaries of regulation on a daily basis. In this region, as in many other parts of Pakistan, survival comes first and abiding by the law, second.—Simón Elías
Gemstone Hunters from the Karakoram is a reportage by London-based photographer Anna Huix exploring the lives of miners living in Balistan, a remote and impoverished region in the Pakistani Kashmir. Among logging, energy production-related jobs, and a bit of tourism, gemstone mining is an attempt by locals to survive, although, “when looked at in-depth, is hardly an industry.”
The work is treacherous; the miners precariously suspend themselves hundreds of meters above the ground, secured only by decaying ropes and old harnesses while they chip away at the cliffs of the Karkoram mountains. They carry heavy compressors, using cheap explosives to break the rock. Huix tells us the story of survivors—bright, crisp and colorful portraits of a people trying to provide for their families in one of the most rugged spots on earth.