Entry Title: "Dark Matter"
Karel Kravik
, Estonia
Category: Non-Professional, Press

Entry Description:

Northeastern part of Estonia called Ida-Virumaa is the region to where
almost all Estonian industry is located. Due to its rich oil shale deposits
it's sometimes even called The Oil-Shale Land. Although industry
creates a lot of jobs, it's also heavy on environment. During Soviet
times where the peak of oil-shale mining was achieved, there were 11
working mines and quarries and the whole region was said to be on
the verge of ecological catastrophe. Nowadays the mining companies
care much more about the environment and also the work is much
more automated and effective, mostly thanks to the restrictions set by
EU. But the industrial legacy has not disappeared.

In 2013 I had a rare chance to visit a mine that was about to be
closed after fifty years of operation. Due to inevitable closure, this
mine was also the least modernized one - some of the machinery
there had been operating there almost since the beginning. The same
can be said about the people - a few of them started there in 1964.

This photo essay is covering the regular working day of the oil-shale
miners. I tried to truthfully convey the environment and working
conditions in the underground. These are real situations, shot with
minimal additional lightning.

The outcome is on one hand a tribute to the miners' tough profession
and on the other hand a trip out of comfort zone for the rest of us. I
remember this noisy, dusty darkness and the people working there
every time I plug anything to the electric grid.

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