Witho Worms calls the coal mining slag heaps he photographed in Belgium, Poland, France and Wales “burial mounds of a virtually bankrupt capitalist system.” The title of Worms’ long-term photo project, Cette Montagne, C’est Moi, refers to the miners who spent much of their lives underground excavating these mountains, and to the intensive photographic printing process Worms used. Taking a little sample from each mound, he ground it into pigment and used it in the paper onto which he printed the image. In so doing, carbon is both the subject and the material of the image. Worms’ mastery of along-abandoned photographic printing process invented in the 19th century was also the book’s starting point. In creating the book, Worms worked closely with designer Hans Gremmen. Gremmen proposed to print the book on black paper to achieve a conceptual translation of the photographs. With this, the book was designed to be an autonomous artwork, rather than simply a reproduction of Worms’ photography.
Research & interviews: Anna Jordans
Direction & editing: Gijs Pouwels
Camera: Adriaan van de Polder