Francesca Moore | Bhopal: Facing 30




WEDNESDAY 4 NOVEMBER, 18.30 – 21.00

Bhopal: Facing 30 is a photographic project in two parts that portrays the site of the 1984 Bhopal disaster today and the people who continue to be affected thirty years on. This exhibition coincides with the anniversary of this tragic event, showcasing photographer Francesca Moore’s series of family portraits and a full panoramic view of the boundary wall of the Union Carbide site, where the disaster took place.

On the night of December 2nd, 1984, a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, began leaking 27 tons of the deadly gas methyl isocyanate. None of the six safety systems designed to contain such a leak were operational, allowing the gas to spread throughout the city of Bhopal. Half a million people were exposed to the gas and 25,000 have died to date as a result of their exposure. More than 120,000 people still suffer from ailments caused by the accident and the subsequent pollution at the plant site. (

Photography Exhibition | Francesca Moore

Bahadur Shah (m/55), Haneefa (f/50), Yunus (m/30), Firoza (f/25), Faruq (m/25, absent), Mehran (f/21), Firoj (m/22), Sahena (f/20), Nazmeen (f/17), Monees (m/8), Asifa (f/5), Alisha (f/1), moin (m/2.5), Sahil (m/9months) © Francesca Moore

The boundary wall was built after the disaster in order to contain the polluted site. Moore has captured the entirety of the wall as it might be seen by a local child, each image joining the next, forming a continuum when presented. Moore comments, ‘my initial and motivating interest was in how it represented the boundary between what is safe, and what is not. The site has never been remediated, and the images expose the level of the wall’s degradation, which allows easy access to toxins harmful to human health and the environment. Children clamber over the wall or pass through its cavernous holes – it’s an appealing grassy spot for a game of cricket. From a child’s height you cannot see the abandoned factory within. From this perspective there is no danger.’

Moore’s documentation of the wall is shown for the first time at this exhibition. Juxtaposed with the wall is Moore’s series of empowering formal family portraits of the people in the surrounding slums. Residents neighbouring the contaminated site are a symbol of resilience and optimism, whilst the site represents thirty years of pain and suffering. All sitters are receiving treatment from the Sambhavna Trust Clinic for resulting health issues, including third generation birth defects. Moore has photographed these families in the style of traditional Indian studio portraiture – usually acquired by wealthy higher castes – giving the people of Bhopal the opportunity to register their own dignity, values and resilience. Moore concludes: ‘the people of Bhopal are not victims as a result of their own actions, or simply through poverty; they were subject to a system that facilitated the economic growth of a multinational company, at the expense of life and the environment’. Bhopal: Facing 30 represents those people affected, and who continue to be affected to this day thirty years on as equals.

Photography Exhibition | Francesca Moore

A cross section of the Union Carbide factory’s boundary wall at J P Nagar Road, commonly known as Union Carbide Road, Bhopal, India. These images reveal some of the easy access points into the contaminated site, and people’s production of dung patties – a sustainable source of biofuel used for cooking and heating. The JP Nagar slums are opposite the wall © Francesca Moore

Francesca Moore is a documentary photographer whose personal work stems from interests in people and the environment. With an MSc in Biological Photography and Imaging, she draws on her scientific background to portray humanitarian, social and environmental issues. The Bhopal: Facing 30 portraits were exhibited nationally and internationally to commemorate the disaster’s thirtieth anniversary and were shortlisted and exhibited for Environmental Photographer of the Year 2014. The project received Special Commendation for the Nick Reeves award for Arts and the Environment in recognition of an outstanding contribution in the field of environmental arts.

This project was funded by the Arts Council England and the partners involved include the Bhopal Medical Appeal, Brighton, Sambhavna Trust Clinic, Bhopal, and Photofusion, London.

Bhopal: Facing 30 by Francesca Moore

Foreword by Satinath Sarangi

There is an accompanying book produced to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Bhopal disaster, available from the gallery throughout the exhibition:
217mm x 275mm landscape, 152 pages, hardback
ISBN: 978-0-9930939-0-6

First Edition 100 copies
Standard Book £45;
Limited Edition £75 (30 of 100); Limited Edition £120 (10 of 30, with enclosed 8 x 12 c-type print)

10% of this book’s sale price will be donated to the Bhopal Medical Appeal

Bhopal: Facing 30 website

Exhibition Events

In conversation with Martin Barnes
Thursday 19 November, 19.00
Price: £5 (£3.50 Members)

To mark the opening of Francesca Moore’s exhibition Bhopal: Facing 30, Photofusion will host an ‘In Conversation’ with Martin Barnes, Senior Curator, Photographs, Victoria and Albert Museum.

Portraiture Masterclass with Francesca Moore & Paul Ellis
Saturday 14 November, 10.30 – 17.30
£195 (£175.50 early payment)

During the first part of the day, Paul will lead a practical session on studio portraiture. Om the afternoon, Francesca will lead another practical session about the composition of a group portrait within a studio setting.

To book please click the links and book online or call us on 020 7738 5774

Also, join the twitter hashtag #familyportrait to add your family photograph to our online gallery and Francesca Moore will choose one of these entries to receive a free Photofusion Membership.