The Cruellest Earth - Man’s Quest for a Better Life

Hugh has been tracked as a spy through the Russian sub-Arctic, Northern Pakistan (he was interviewed twice by intelligence agencies) and more recently Myanmar. He has worked in possibly the most dangerous mountain on earth. A place where four to eight million miners have died since mining began in 1545. The Bolivian mountain called Cerro Rico. And he's dodged an active insurgency photographing India’s poorest people, the Adivasis coal scavengers.


Hugh's speech explores the concept of “Man’s Quest for a Better Life”. Because the people he has been photographing are generally sacrificing the lives they could be living now (they work in extremely dangerous places) for the prospect of better lives (by seeking to attain better educations for their children and a higher standard of living for their loved ones).

And while their working conditions put them a world away from what we are used to here in the sleepy and comfortable developed world we are ultimately bound by this same common thread. Because here in the developed world we too are sacrificing the lives we could be living for the prospect of better lives. Many are working 60 hours a week in an office job they hate. Others doing cleaning or FIFO work. Long peak hour commutes. People doing labouring work.
Hugh's talk takes the listener through some of the most remote places on the planet. Dining with arms dealers. Climbing the faces of some of the biggest mountains in the world. Work inside an active volcano. Escaping ebola ravaged West Africa, etc, etc. Plus some of the stories mentioned above.