- Caroline Kurze
Photographer Robin Friend captured ‘Slaughterhouse’, a series of stunning photographs, slowly exposing the intensely coloured minerals of an abandoned Welsh mine. ‘An underground labyrinth of tunnels and chambers the Victorian mine at Cwmorthin to this day retains an unusual hold and control over me’, Friend describes.
‘My imagination, all that I had to keep me company, was racing ahead, down the passage in search of a place to lurk and catch me out with surprise. Although my mind kept wandering and playing tricks it would always return to the absence of the men that used to work here. Their presence was palpable, this was their mine and I was trespassing. The huge cathedra-sized caverns I kept losing myself in would have been rented and worked on by one family. Grandfathers, fathers, sons, uncles, cousins, and nephews would have worked side-by-side, day in day out. These dark passages, steep crevasses and sheer drops would have been their livelihood. This was their world. They would have spent the majority of their lives down here in the dark with nothing but a candle to illuminate the slate and their spirits.’
All images © Robin Friend