Once upon a time is a portrait of the post-industrial heart of Western Europe. The landscapes, portraits and interiors tell a story about inhabitants from different cultures trying to make the best of their lives in a region with an uneasy cinematic beauty. The story also touches on a current social problem. The world must and wants to say goodbye to polluting industry and coal for generating energy. The 95 images show what the impact can be on an area and its residents if large industrial companies close and the local economy has to reinvent itself.
The Dutch documentary photographer HJ Hunter started in 2015 from his hometown of Maastricht on a journey of discovery through the raw post-industrial landscape that he closed his eyes to as a child, and that he came to appreciate as a photographer.
“I like the still lifes. They betray so much human presence. The portraits are just as intriguing. Really amazing.”
“The book is an ode to the area, and to the people who live there. It contains fine images that radiate a kind of desolation that makes me very happy.”
Chris de Bode:
“It is not only a good story, but also well photographed. What appeals to me is that the photos are so beautifully orchestrated. Very well done.”
Dutch, English, German and French