Over the last 10 years, I have travelled extensively to India, China, Indonesia, USA, Germany, Bulgaria, Nigeria, Slovenia and Italy in order to document the impact that the tobacco industry has on human health, the economy as well as the environment. My long-term project on the global tobacco industry is now culminating in a book, with preface and captions curated by Judith Mackay.
Cigarettes are considered the most marketed consumer product in history. Their success derives from their apparent simplicity: tobacco leaves, paper and filter. Their design, however, hides not only the chemical toxicity of smoke, but also the many socio-economic and environmental negative aspects linked to their production, marketing and utilization.
A smokescreen, like an invisible curtain, cloaks it all. Through my camera, I have attempted to look beyond it and have witnessed how tobacco promotes the stripping of farmlands, threatens workers with dangerous chemicals, exploits child labor and undocumented workers, utilizes aggressive marketing campaigns aimed at identifying new customers (mostly underage), and conducts heavy lobbying to promote its expansion to novel markets and social strata. Moreover, tobacco severely affects the environment: every year, 9 million acres are subjected to deforestation for tobacco cultivations - accounting for 12% of the world’s cut trees and for nearly 5% of greenhouse gas emissions – while cigarette butts are today considered the world’s greatest source of ocean pollution: of the 5.6 trillion cigarettes produced annually, about two-thirds end up disposed in the environment, and make their way to the world's oceans.
In the last seven years, chapters of the project have been published in several international media outlets, including Newsweek, Le Monde Magazine, CNN, Courrier International, GEO, Internazionale, L’Espresso, Io Donna. I was also awarded a grant by the Fund for Investigative Journalism for uncovering undocumented Latino children working in USA tobacco estates.
“He aims to redefine the imagery of the cigarette, pushing it away from dusty cowboys and the vast plantations of Virginia to the realities of modern industrial globalization"
The New York Times
The book is the ultimate compendium of years of work, and the first chance to see the project in its entirety. The volume will be published by London-based GOST Books, and is edited and designed by Stuart Smith who is crafting an insightful and contemporary visual tool which combines the iconographic component with the journalistic content of a truly in-depth investigation.
Preface, captions and infographics have been curated by senior scientific consultant Judith Mackay, defined by the tobacco industry as “one of the most dangerous people in the world”.
I believe that this book is of considerable interest to photographers (with a careful narrative structure that follows the most hidden processes of the industry) as well as tobacco-control advocates (being the first book portraying the industry in its convoluted totality), and of course to the insightful reader interested in understanding the tentacular construction of a truly capitalistic venture.
The book will ultimately raise awareness on the complexity of the impacts and the multifaceted paths of the global tobacco industry, providing a way to understand some corporative mechanisms and the power they have to influence the perception of reality.
Thank you for supporting this pre-sale and crowdfunding campaign. With your help we can make this book happen!
220 x 165 mm Portrait format
208 pages divided as follow:
144 pages on GardaPat Kiara paper
64 pages on uncoated paper
Please find here the selection of images available for the reward prints.
I started working as a documentary photographer after my doctoral studies in Natural Sciences, which helped me develop a profound interest in global social and environmental issues. My images and videos are utilized in awareness campaigns of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations (WHO, Oxfam, Save the Children, MSF, etc), and are regularly published by the main international magazines, such as Le Monde Magazine, GEO, Der Spiegel, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, Paris Match, Guardian Review, D di Repubblica, L'Espresso, Internazionale, Io Donna, and many other. My essays have been exhibited across Europe and North America. I am one of the founding members of the collective TerraProject. I live in Rome, Italy.
Risks and challenges
If we raise the funds to publish the book, we do not foresee major challenges. Images have been edited, preface and captions have been fact-checked, infographics have been designed.
Founded in 2013, GOST Books is an independent visual arts and photography publisher based in London. The Director and co-founder of GOST Books is Stuart Smith, a designer with over 30 years experience and renowned for his specialisation in typography and award-winning photo books. GOST publishes a diverse subject matter and design, making an uncategorisable output a trademark of GOST.
We thank you for your support of this project and we look to fulfil our commitment on producing a book for all our supporters.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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