This project aims to document the transformations that occur in the Jiului Valley as its century old coal mines are being shut down these years. I have started it in October 2015, when I have documented the last week of Petrila mine before it has been shut down.
A question lays at the core of this project: what is really “a miner”? To the public, this is just a label for a clichee, a face covered in coal dust, a body in a working suit and wearing a distinctive helmet. To the miners themselves, it’s a cultural identity, a part of a social group which, while weak and fading away these days, used to be so strong and respected in the past that it defined the miners’ own selves. So, when mining is gradually being shut down, the miners are also facing an identity crisis. Economically, most of them have already adapted to the changes by working alternative jobs (and they are qualified and skilled in many professions). But culturally, they are still seeing themselves as “miners” and uncertain about their future.