Andrew Querner’s ‘Bread with Honey’ series depicts the everyday lives of long-serving mineworkers at Stan Terg metal mine in Kosovo.
“Today, there are almost no prospects in the region for young people and miners in their fifties and sixties.”Stan Terg belongs to the Trepça mining complex, which was one of the biggest companies and employers in former Yugoslavia until the early 1980s. The downgrade increased from 1990 with the reduction of Kosovo’s autonomy by Belgrade, the increasing ethno-political tension and the resignation of most Albanian workers. As a state-run enterprise, the mine has been subject to the same power struggles native to the region. “Today, there are almost no prospects in the region for young people and miners in their fifties and sixties”, mentions the photographer.
As they approach the mandatory age of retirement, a sense of anxiety and hopelessness surrounding the future arises. If they had the chance, the miners would prefer to continue their jobs, even though their bodies struggle with the tough work. It is this spectrum of emotion that Querner captures in each photo, alongside the dreariness of the region. Nevertheless, the images convey a ray of hope which has not yet expired.
All images © Andrew Querner