Alan Pogue is one of the best documentary photographers you’ve never heard of. Not one to get mixed up in the social media conga line, Pogue instead spends his time hunting down important stories. Very important stories.

Rosa Moreno lost her hands last year in an industrial accident in Reynosa, Mexico. Pogue writes:

“They needed to step up production and Rosa was asked to operate a machine that stamps out the back plate for a particular model of flat screen monitor because it was a little complicated and she was good and she was faster than most. She was also a little more brave. It scared some of the others who declined to work at this machine on the line. She stepped up.

It happened just after 2 in the morning February 20, 2011. As she was positioning a piece of steel plate, the machine suddenly jumped into action and clamped down on her hands with tons of force. She knew she had to maintain her presence of mind, since it would be necessary for her to argue for being taken to the right hospital. […] but the company would not allow an ambulance to be called. They did not want her taken to the hospital Rosa wanted because it might be more expensive, and because the accident would be on the record. With her hands now flat as tortillas and meshed into the monitor back plate, she walked to a co-worker’s car and was taken to the hospital, where they amputated her hands, still enmeshed in the steel plate.

She gets by on the Mexican government’s equivalent of Social Security disability, about $230 dollars a month. There is no workman’s comp. She had no insurance. There was no union. Some church groups help her out a bit with food and some money. The company offered to give her a one time payment of $4500. But she refused. Even though it is not clear that there is a way to obtain a better settlement through the court system under NAFTA, she holds out.”

Alan Pogue has photographed extensively across North and Central America focusing on social issues, labour issues, civil rights, criminal justice and the Texas prison system. I had the pleasure of meeting him last year and when we talked about his stories, water gathered in his eyes and his voice wobbled. This is work that he really feels and Rosa’s is a cause he deeply, deeply believes in. Please think about helping this holiday season.

via Susan Noyes Platt.