Photographer and "barequero"
Between the months of June and August 2017, OAK carried out an exhaustive follow-up of the emerald’s journey through Colombia, from deep into the ground to the auction houses in Bogotá, meeting the different actors that deal with it along the way, and being witness of how its value oscillates depending on the hands that buy and sell it. This is the case of José Maecha, photographer and barequero, who shared with Javier Corso one of the few photographic archives on the life in the mining region at the end of the last century.
Carranza, the last of the great emerald leaders, died in April 2013 after which his principal mine, Puerto Arturo (Muzo), was sold to the foreign multinational Minería Texas Colombia (MTC). Being an American company implementing a new way of management, MTC has faced strong opposition by some miners from the region. Also the guaqueros feel their livelihood is being affected due to the improving obedience to environmental laws.