Photographer Jean-Claude Wicky links Cornwall with Bolivia in Mineros, Bolivia at Geevor

By Culture24 Reporter | 01 November 2011
A black and white photo of a South American man staring directly into the camera
© Jean-Claude Wicky
Exhibition: Mineros, Bolivia, Hard Rock Gallery, Geevor Tin Mine, November 8 2011 – January 6 2012

Between 1984 and 2001, Jean-Claude Wicky, a Swiss documentary photographer, took more than 80 photos at 30 mining centres in Bolivia.

His pitch-black pits, faces contorted by rubble, figures teetering over perilous cliff-tops and views down shudderingly steep shafts have toured to 12 Latin American countries and 36 cities, seen by more than half a million people.

Arriving at Geevor, the tin mine which spent most of the 20th century shifting thousands of tons of black tin, they serve as a rare atmospheric parallel between Cornwall and South America.

"The similarities between the miners of Bolivia today and those of Cornwall generations ago is remarkable," says Bill Lakin, the Chair of Trustees at the mine.

"I was astonished by Jean Claude's haunting photography. No-one can fail to be moved by this stunning exhibition."

For his part, Wicky underlines the lack of health and safety the miners – ranging from children to pensioners – face in a working environment which is stiflingly hot and full of danger.

"This piece of work is my song of friendship to the people of Bolivia and all those whose daily work consists of seeking their destiny in the depths of the earth," he says.

  • Open 9am-4pm (closed Saturday). Admission £5-£9.75 (family ticket £29, free for under-5s).

More photos from the show:

A black and white photo of a mine worker staring into the camera sideways on
Wicky says he witnessed suffering, poverty, and companionship among the miners
© Jean-Claude Wicky
A black and white photo of two figures walking along a perillously steep clifftop
The families and homes of the workers are also portrayed in the show
© Jean-Claude Wicky
A black and white photo of a man climbing down an extremely steep mine shaft down a ladder
The miners toil in the Andes Mountains© Jean-Claude Wicky
More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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