100 Words: Documenting Disaster Cleanup : The Picture Show After a 2002 oil spill near Spain, photographer Jose Luis Abalo Abalo hit the coast to make portraits of the cleanup volunteers in white.
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100 Words: Documenting Disaster Cleanup

The ship carried about 77,000 tons of oil when it sank. As usual, the government said that nothing was happening, yet thousands of tons of oil washed onto the coast over the next couple of days.

Immediately, thousands of civilians went to the coast to help. ... In the first images on TV and in newspapers, the crowd of people looked like a swarm of little ants in their white suits. I made my way down to the beaches with a black cloth to make pictures of them in front of it. ...

Over the next 15 days I went to the beaches where these volunteers were working; every day I met incredible people of all ages that were happy to let me document their work.

Jose Luis Abalo Abalo was born in Venezuela in 1959 and studied photography at the Design Institue of Caracas with Jose Sigala. His work has been exhibited widely in Caracas, Madrid, Barcelona and Buenos Aires. More of his photographs can be found on FotoVisura

100 Words is a series in which photographers describe their work, in their own words. Curated by Graham Letorney