The Poisoning of El Dorado

Colombia's gold mines fuel a new wave of violence and environmental destruction.



Conversation with Stephen Ferry coming soon.


October 24, 2012

Stephen Ferry

Le Journal de la Photographie

Stephen Ferry, 2011 Emergency Fund photographer, was featured in British Journal of Photography for his book Violentology. The review was penned by talented Laurence Cornet. To read the review please view here

October 9, 2012

Stephen Ferry

TIME LightBox

Stephen Ferry featured on TIME LightBox for his on-going documentation of violence in Colombia, “Violentology.” 

Stephen will be at the International Center of Photography (ICP) tomorrow Wednesday, October 10 at 7pm. He’ll be presenting his work in Violentology and engaging in thoughtful dialogue about the ongoing internal armed conflict in Colombia for The Photographers Lecture Series. 

August 7, 2012

Stephen Ferry

PDF downloadables for Violentology

Selected chapters of Violentology: A Manual of the Colombian Conflict are available as PDSs, which can be downloaded free here. This mode of distribution is supported by the Tim Hetherington Grant and Human Rights Watch. 

February 23, 2012

Reposted from Stephen Ferry’s Violentology blog

This picture was taken during a peace demonstration in Caloto, Cauca, organized by members of the nearby Nasa indigenous communities. The demonstrators took a  risk by denouncing all of the armed actors, including the FARC, for committing acts of violence against civilians. Nonetheless, a local army commander accused these marchers of being FARC guerrillas in disguise.

November 18, 2011

Stephen Ferry

Violentology Blog

Stephen Ferry publishes online blog for Violentology: A Manual of the Colombian Conflict project

Violentology documents Colombia’s internal armed conflict, a complex and tragic war that is barely understood outside the country.  Read more on the blog here:

November 18, 2011

Stephen Ferry

A statue in Segovia

The statue towers over the main square of Segovia, Antioquia, one of the principal mining centers of Colombia. Segovia is the site of countless acts of violence in the past and a current, festering conflict between the traditional miners of the region and the Canadian multinational, Gran Colombia Gold Corp.

The plaque at the base of the monument does not mention the name of the sculptor.  Painted a gold color, the statue shows a naked woman,  her ankles and wrists in shackles,  raising the traditional wooden pan used by alluvial miners up to the sky.  Her face is contorted in an anguished grimace, as a muscular miner hammers at her womb. He has split her open, revealing a lode of golden rocks jaggedly showing through the tear in her skin.

Ive asked a few Segovians what meaning they see in this sculpture. Some say it is a memorial for the 1988 massacre of 43 civilians by paramiltiaries, that left Segovia in a state of trauma. Others deny any negative connotations, choosing to regard it as a sincere homage to the dignity of the miner. Heliodoro Alvarez, co-owner of the Sociedad Minera Roca mine, responded in philosophical terms:

“We dig in the organs, in the internal parts of Mother Earth.  She lets us tunnel within her womb, to give us sustenance. No matter how much we crush her, she does not say anything, she keeps on offering us what we need to eat. She represents a mother, as with a mother and child, at times the child makes her suffer greatly, yet she does not stop being the mother and the child does not stop being the child, and each day she loves him more.”

I made these images while working on the issue of conflict gold, with a grant from the Magnum Foundation.

-written by Stephen Ferry

November 9, 2011

Stephen Ferry

Tim Hetherington Grant

Stephen Ferry awarded first Tim Hetherington Grant

Stephen Ferry, Emergency Fund 2012 photographer, was awarded the first Tim Hetherington Grant for “Violentology: A Manual of the Colombian Conflict.”  The €20,000 grant was chosen from 222 other applicants from among 56 countries. 

The judges commented:

“As Tim Hetherington immersed himself in West Africa, spending many years working and living in Liberia, so Stephen Ferry has dedicated himself to covering conflict in Colombia. Ferry is not only committed to creating an important historical record, he is also generating innovative approaches for disseminating that record within the community he documents, as well as to a worldwide audience.”

A big congratulations from the Magnum Foundation team!  For more information on Ferry’s Violentology project, please view his blog:

The grant was established to commemorate the legacy of photojournalist and filmmaker Tim Hetherington, who was killed in Libya earlier this year.

September 28, 2011

Stephen Ferry

El Espectador, Stephen Ferry: retratista de tiempos dificiles (portrait of hard time)

Stephen Ferry interviewed by El Espectador, a Colombian newspaper.

Stephen Ferry first began photographing in Colombia in 1995.  In this interview, he speaks about Violentology, his book on the armed conflict in Colombia and his recent involvement with Claveles Rojos (Red Carnations), a photography exhibit depicting three views of violence.

September 15, 2011

Stephen Ferry

Tedx Talk, Violentology: A Manual of the Colombian Conflict

Stephen Ferry gave a Tedx Talk in Colombia about journalism and human rights in the Colombian area. 

April 20, 2011

Stephen Ferry, 2011 EF Photographer, has been nominated for a Webby Award for a piece produced alongside HRW. Check out his work!

March 3, 2011

Stephen Ferry

The New York Times

Stephen Ferry’s story on Colombia’s gold rush was featured on NY Times on March 3, 2011. View Ferry’s slideshow here. Or read the article here


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