Jess Hurd

Archive for May, 2010

I Promise Not to Kill Myself

I was horrified but unfortunately not surprised to hear the news of another tragic death of a factory worker in China.

The 19 year old from Shenzhen is the 9th suspected suicide at Foxconn, a Taiwanese firm making computers and phones for companies like Apple and Sony.

In 2003 I was invited to China with two other British photographers, Sion Touhig and Mike Goldwater to document one of China’s New Economic Development Zones.

Journalists were taken around the Provinces of South East China to witness the rapid industrialisation in the region as millions of workers were sucked into factories from small villages in the countryside.

Shenzhen, has grown from a small village into a city with a population over 10 million within 20 years.

Many factories we visited had no infrastructure at all, roads were still being built. They were the showcases, brand new, clean and bright, but even so it was clear working conditions were appalling. The image pictured shows Chinese women workers at the Chint Group a private firm and China’s largest high voltage electrical appliance maker based in Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province.

We were told the company only use women on this part of the production line because their hands were ‘smaller and faster’. The work is long, repetitive, tedious and painful. Every element of the workers lives were regulated by the company from segregated dormitories to what seemed to be regulation length hair.

Wherever we visited our questions about unions were batted away by company management, why would such happy workers need trade unions? The recent increase in suicides and workers attempts to escape the monotony of virtually prison worker life is no surprise to me and I doubt the introduction of pledges for workers to sign stating that they will not kill themselves, will change the situation.

The global market race for cheaper products is made with the blood of these workers.

© Jess Hurd/

Images available from:

The Journey of Transition

I’ve been invited to speak at the University of Bedfordshire’s first ever Refugee Week today.

I will be showing three sets of images at the event called the Journey of Transition.

Firstly the work I have done in France, called ‘Permanent
Displacement – Calais refugees from Sangatte to destitution

Secondly a set of images from the US/Mexico border called ‘Border Angels
– the story of Mexican refugees and the vigilante Minute Men.’

and the third series of images will be a celebration of the colourful
and innovative campaigns from around the world from Indonesian
domestic maids in Hong Kong to the Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees.

Image: Never Accept Money in Return For Sex – sign at the Kapelebyong Primary School, Camp Kapelebyong – displaced peoples camp Katekwi. Uganda.

© Jess Hurd/

Take Back Parliament

Take Back Parliament – Demo for Democracy. Campaign for proportional representation. Westminster.

See web gallery here

© Jess Hurd/

BNP Wipe-Out

Barking and Dagenham residents and anti racist campaigners celebrate the wipe out of all the BNP councillors in the local election.

© Jess Hurd/

May Day – A Hung Parliament

May Day protesters construct gallows on parliament Square and hold a mock execution of politicians.

See web gallery here

© Jess Hurd/

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