Sidoarjo, Indonesia. In 2006, an Indonesian gas drilling company called Lapindo, struck an underground natural reservoir of toxic gas and mud. The subsequent explosion and toxic mudflow completely buried 12 villages and displaced hundreds of thousands of working class Indonesians. 8 years later, the mud and toxic gas is still flowing has covered over 200,000 acres in toxic mud. Surrounding communities continue to struggle because of the toxic gas and polluted soil. Lapindo and the Indonesian government have done little by way of compensation. These photographs are of abandoned homes in the nearby village of Desa Pologunting. The government required the occupants to leave their homes because of the toxicity levels in the soil. The occupants dismantled their homes in order to build new ones with the salvaged materials because were not compensated financially and could not afford new building materials.
Michael has a history of photographing fashion and music. Having honed her skills assisting some of the world's best photographers when she was young, she is now photographing worldwide travel, documentary and pro sports from a unique and cinematic perspective. For 7 months in 2011, she lived and worked In Italy, shooting behind the scenes in the world of professional cycling. She produced photo essays and short documentary films exploring the world's most loved cycling brands including Milani Cycles, Colnago, De Rosa, Bianchi, Fi'zi:k and more. She has covered Pro Cycling in Europe for Peloton Magazine, Paved Magazine, and CyclingFans.com. Michael is also currently a freelance documentary photographer and filmmaker for UNICEF in West Africa and recently traveled to India and Nepal to produce a documentary film for The World of Children Award Foundation. She recently traveled to Mexico for The Girl Effect as well. Michael lives in New York and is a contributor to Corbis Images for Documentary and Special Projects. She is a 2012 Communication Arts Photo Annual Winner. In 2014, Michael plans to continue traveling the world and is always eager to get her hands dirty.