These Photos Show How People Are Dying Around The World

Stephen Dupont has spent the past two decades photographing the one thing in life that intrigues him the most: death. WARNING: Some viewers may find these images disturbing.

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That's how Australian photographer Stephen Dupont summarises the one topic he's followed for most of his career. His curiosity about how different cultures around the world view death stems from his exposure to war zones and natural disasters.

His approach to the topic is forensic. Witnessing genocides and famine-stricken communities has "numbed his brain", he told BuzzFeed. But going deeper into the topic is his way of making sense of everything he's seen.

"It can’t always be about the suffering of others or man’s cruelty to one another. Through this project, I am looking well beyond the cost of human death, and instead looking inside the world of industrial and environmental death," Dupont said.

Warning: the photographs below include the remains of deceased people and may be distressing for some readers.

In Varanasi, India, cremation for the dead is done along the holy River Ganges. The remains first go through a washing ritual, followed by burning with wood. Afterwards the ashes are scattered over the river.


Kandihar, Afghanistan

During the war in Afghanistan in 2005, US soldiers of the 173rd Airbourne, seen above, burn the bodies of two dead Taliban militants in the village of Gonbaz.


Rukara, Rwanda

In 1994, the Rukara Church in Rwanda was one of the sites targeted by the genocide against the Tutsi population. A total of 800,000 people were found dead.


Aceh, Indonesia

This body found on top of a car was just one of the 61,000 fatalities in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, during the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004. Banda Aceh was one of the worst hit areas during the natural disaster, which killed 250,000 people across Asia and Africa.


Dili, East Timor

Dupont was in East Timor during the fallout from the country's vote for independence from Indonesia in 1999. He witnessed people in flames and massacred by Indonesian-backed militias. The photo above is a skeleton he found along a creek in Dili.


Tacloban, Philippines

Typhoon Haiyan hit the southern Philippines in 2014 and wiped out entire towns, with Tacloban facing the worst in its aftermath. The category five storm left the provincial city with a mountain of debris and 10,000 dead.


Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

In 2009, a local newspaper reported that bodies had decomposed beyond recognition after the refrigeration system of Port Moresby's morgue broke down. The names of some of the dead were listed, but many remain unknown. The unclaimed bodies were given a mass burial.


Chittagong, Bangladesh

Ship breaking is one of the biggest industries in Bangladesh and is controversial for its poor safety practices. Work involves separating the metal and using the scraps for resale. The activity has been the cause of many accidents, leaving the industry with a very high death rate.


Gaza Strip

In 2001, Dupont witnessed a funeral for a Palestinian man in Gaza following the outbreak of the Second Intifada. During the procession, mourners carried the body while shouting out protests against the Israeli government.



Stephen Dupont features in Canon's Tales by Light Season 2, which premieres on the National Geographic Channel on Tuesday, October 25, 2016.

Anna Mendoza is a photo editor for BuzzFeed and is based in Sydney, Australia.

Contact Anna Mendoza at Anna.Mendoza@buzzfeed.com.

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