Co.Design

Photos Make Rock Quarries Look Like Abstract Art

Tito Mouraz captures the strange beauty of industrial ravages.

Rock quarries are only beautiful to the guy getting rich off of them. They ravage the environment, they’re boring to look at, and they conjure up unbecoming images of Fred Flintstone. But maybe photographer Tito Mouraz will change your mind.

Mouraz spent two years touring the open-pit mines of his native Portugal to capture the view from hundreds of feet beneath the earth. And boy, what a view it is. In Mouraz’s hands, 500-foot marble cliffs and stone blocks the size of Mack trucks flatten into intricate geometric patterns. Look long enough, and they start to resemble abstract paintings.

In a way, abstraction was the point. Here’s how Mouraz describes it:

It is a well-known fact that an image cannot replace reality. That is why I chose to include parts of a hidden horizon or an incomplete landscape, in this way suggesting a different perspective, since the proximity to these sites which grow in the opposite direction to what is normal, are usually unobserved by the spectator almost giving them the chance to rebuild them.

Mouraz shot all over Portugal, but spent most of his time in the vast marble quarries of Alentejo. “There are holes 160 meters [about 525 feet] deep,” he tells Co.Design. “I had to go down an elevator for about five minutes. It was scary.” In general, though, he wasn’t terribly concerned for his safety. “I paid close attention and took care because these are dangerous places,” he says. Besides “when the objective is the photograph, fears are secondary.”

[Images courtesy of Tito Mouraz]

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