Tomas Bachot

Tomas Bachot (’89, Belgium) is a photographer, visual storyteller and bookmaker. Mostly the topics that interest him are the outcome of his journalistic background and personal relations. He recently graduated with the greatest honours as Master in Visuals Arts (photography) at School of Arts/KASK, Ghent. He works and lives in Sint-Antonius Zoersel (Belgium) and Cluj-Napoca (Romania). His work has been exhibited in Belgium and abroad. Publications include GUP, L’Oeil de la Photographie, Workshopx, VICE, De Morgen …

Those who eat fish from the cyanide lake improve their sex life

I met Matei during a student job in the chocolate factory of Malle, Belgium, in 2013. While piling up choco spread pots, he told me about the social debate related to the gold mines’ reopening in his homeland Romania. At his apartment Matei showed me pictures of the street protests against the foreign mining companies which came to Romania and pictures from Geamăna, a village flooded by the toxic waste of a mine. (…) In January 2015, I decided to take a bus to the Golden Quadrilateral in the Apuseni Mountains of Transylvania, shaped by the gold industry over the years.

Through Couchsurfing, I stayed at Irina’s house in Deva, in the south of the gold area. One day after dinner with her family I showed my pictures from the first trip. “These pictures have no value for me”, her mother said furiously. “They are a simple negative impression: remote, filthy, run-down…” It was difficult to hear that because I was their guest, and I felt it was true. I came with having a preconceived image of this Romanian region and I was only looking for confirmation.

After seven trips my relationship with the people and the landscape shifted.

To view more of Tomas’s work please visit his website.