2006 - 2013
Once known as the "Black Country" (Pays Noir) due to the local coal mines, the Wallonian city of Charleroi was a leading center of heavy industry in western Europe until the mid 20th century. From the late 1970s onwards, the crisis of the mining sector and the following shrinking of steelmaking led to a severe and prolonged economic and demographic decline. After the shutdown of the last blast furnace in 2008, a strange stillness seized the city, meanwhile turned into a vast landscape of abandonment. The images that follow date back to that particular time frame and atmosphere, right before the change imposed by an impressive urban regeneration program, still underway.