The Industrial Revolution

Photos: This chapter contains in total 13 images, of which I show here 7.

The Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution, which began in Great Britain, introduced once again a new shift in people’s experience of their surroundings. The great number of inventions – emerging within a relatively short period of time – brought innovation to virtually every aspect of daily life. Wool and cotton, though previously existing, could now be processed on an industrial scale. With the invention of the steam machine, coal could be quarried on a scale never seen before, enabling  the supply of vast amounts of energy to operate even more machines. Railway lines were built, following the example of cart tracks used in mountain mines dating back to the late Middle Ages. As a result, travel by mail coach became transport by train. To name but a few of the many innovations.

Mining had existed long before the Industrial Revolution. The Romans mined coal in Great Britain, for example, as early as the second century before Christ. Nevertheless, the scale on which this occurred expanded to levels that were previously inconceivable. A revolution also occurred in agriculture. During the Industrial Revolution, the use of enclosures greatly increased. For centuries, large pieces of agricultural land and uncultivated grounds had been held for common use. In the nineteenth century, however, more and more of the land became enclosed, with forests cut down and uncultivated grounds developed. With the introduction of these enclosures, agriculture became more efficient, production increased and there arose here too a dramatic scale expansion.

For this chapter, I photographed various types of mines in the landscape in and around the Lake District. Serving as my starting point were vertical scars left behind by man in the vastness of the landscape. Humanity began to wander the earth in search of natural resources, and in doing so, came to see the landscape as something to be ‘utilised’. The same natural resources were subsequently transported by rail and various other means to the newly built cities. Consequently, these natural resources also lost their locality.

For more information on the visual approach, take a look at the artist statement here