This structure is part of Tata Steel, a majestic monstrosity near the Dutch town of Wijk aan Zee. Majestic for its breath-taking power and scale, it’s also monstrous for its carcinogenic emissions and toxic ‘graphite rain’. Just like Fritz Lang’s film Metropolis, Tata is a dystopia tended by workers dwarfed by machines epitomising William Blake’s ‘dark Satanic Mills’. You may loath this, but you simply cannot ignore it and nor could I.
After struggling to photograph seascapes at a place where the waves were too tame, I spotted Tata’s smoking chimneys from afar and made a beeline for them. I always strive for intensity and this it had in spades.
Photography during Covid-19
Covid-19 disrupts all our lives including mine. Where once my work involved travel and encounters with the exotic and unknown, now I am largely confined to Amsterdam with the occasional day trip elsewhere. But, although there is little here for me that’s completely unfamiliar, dramatic narratives – such as Tata’s – are always a revelation and easily redress the artistic balance between past and present.
PS Tata Steel is currently in the news and under fire for both contravening its environmental permits and failing to curb pollution: https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2020/10/tata-steel-under-fire-over-graphite-rain-may-face-prosecution/