Coal mining and electricity generation have been the economic mainstay of the Lausitz region in Eastern Germany for more than a century. 136 villages and suburbs have so far been obliterated in the process, and more have been put on notice. The landscape transformations are among the largest of their kind anywhere.

Much of the mined terrain is returned, after extensive repairs, to agriculture and forestry. Some parts are left unmanaged and become sanctuaries for animal and plant species that have been squeezed out of Europe's intensively used landscape. The vast holes from the removal of billions of tons of coal are slowly filled with surface water (rising ground water being too acidic) and turned into recreational lakes. Tourism, it is hoped, will fill the economic void. Many wounds remain open.

Reclaiming the land involves mental interventions beyond the more obvious physical ones: new ways of seeing need to be cultivated so as to help the public engage with the changing environment. A decade of wide-ranging project work under the aegis of an International Building Exhibition made the Lausitz a unique laboratory for landscape design and architecture, as well as for landscape perception and use. My photography seeks to participate in a dual role: as a documentary medium recording physical change, and as an artistic and didactic medium that helps shape perceptual attitudes and practices.