Thursday, October 25, 2012


German photographer Bertram Kober composed these panoramic views of ancient (and still-operating) marble quarries in the Italian mountains. The photos seen here – plus many other equally horrifying, equally lovely images – can be found in Kober's book Carrara, issued a couple of years ago by Kerber and still in print. 

Michelangelo and his contemporaries regularly traveled to this exact location to select in person the marble they intended to carve. Even then the quarries were ancient, had been used by the Romans. Nowadays, as the text of Kober's book is at pains to point out, "the legendary white Carrara marble, the marmo statuario, no longer exists." It was carved to extinction long ago. The stone extracted these days is used for tourist-market kitsch or for ornamental gravel. "Ground down to the size of sand grains, Carrara marble is also used as a whitener to perfect the artificial beaches of Dubai."