Heroes from the dark and deep depths of the earth, of whom the dwellers on top don’t know much about. These are the portraits of men, whose task has remained unchanged for hundreds(, if not thousands,) of years.
The very first time that I ended up in a mine, I knew at once that this place deserved my attention. The feeling you get while standing in a dark tunnel with mindboggling (measureless) tons of earth, of the plant’s crust above you, is emotionally comparable with diving or flying. However those underground temples (tunnels) are nothing without the men burrowing them. Thus it was clear that I wished to create a project portraying those men and through their portraits maybe, just maybe, transfer an inkling of that feeling to the wider audience.
I pondered long about the format or way best suited for capturing all that down there. The pure form of documenting was not really possible due to the difficult conditions and staged photographs lose the sincerity and serve another purpose. Thus I chose a method that I prefer to call controlled documenting. For me it was very important that the men were aware of my presence and that there was a principled agreement from them. At the same time I didn’t want to change anything about their daily routines(, as far as it was possible). My aim was for them to halt for a moment and look into the camera as if gazing into the eyes of a friend.