Albert Bonsfills - E-LIFE

Albert Bonsfills

Albert Bonsfills was born in Barcelona in 1982. He studied photography at the Institute of Photographic Studies of Catalonia (IEFC).

Currently living between China and Barcelona, Albert focuses his work on unique and intimate stories that often go unnoticed, aiming to show how society is through documentary photography, and using documentary as a tool for reflection and to support the struggle for human rights. In an effort to understand the people he photographs more deeply, as part of his approach, Albert tries to discern their dreams and the things that make them cling to life.

Albert was selected for the 4th Lumix Festival for Young Photojournalism and was nominated for both Magnum Foundation’s Emergency Fund and the Joop Swart Masterclass in 2014. His work has been awarded the Premio Internazionale ON THE MOVE (2013) and the Renaissance Prize (2013). In 2011, he received a grant for young Catalan photojournalists to continue his work in Eastern China.

Albert’s works have been selected amongst the finalists in several contests and festivals and have been published, projected and exhibited in India, USA, Spain, Italy, Russia, France and the United Kingdom.

Albert Bonsfills
Project Statement


Computers, electronics and mobile phones pile up on the streets of Guiyu, a small town of not more than two hundred thousand people in southeastern China. In ten years, the town has gone from being green and leafy to becoming one of the most polluted towns in the world, as millions of tonnes of electronic waste from Western companies have arrived from Hong Kong’s port.

The overwhelming majority of the population of this small town spends the day dismantling outdated electronics in illegal workshops, usually located in the basement of their homes. Interestingly, most of these devices were manufactured in China and after passing through more prosperous countries and cities, they return here to be dismantled. Despite knowing the terrible consequences to the environment and personal health (e.g. drinking water must be brought in from 30 kilometers away), lead, gold and copper are extracted without any protection and in appalling conditions with lack of ventilation. And, after further treatment, these materials are readied to be sent on to make copper cables, printed circuit boards and batteries. The most valuable components such as electronic chips, capacitors and screws are resold on the black market managed by mafia organizations that enrich themselves at the expense of the poorest. Unscrupulous bosses are reluctant to show the reality of this recycling and will do anything to protect their business from possible leaks to the outside world.