Mountaintops to Moonscapes Photobook Launch

Gignoux Photos announces the publication of Mountaintops to Moonscapes, a handmade photobook in which photographer Alan Gignoux documents the ruinous impact of mountaintop removal mining on the Appalachian region and its people.

Described by environmentalists as “strip mining on steroids,” mountaintop removal mining uses explosives to take up to 800 feet off the top of the mountain to expose the coal seams beneath. Alan’s photographs reveal the transformation of a mountainous region of ancient forest to an other-worldly landscape as cratered and bare as a “moonscape.”  They also throw light on the ways in which this new form of mining has impacted the local community, bringing environmental degradation, job losses, and a host of associated problems, including health problems caused by pollution and opioid addiction.

The plight of the mining communities in the region is made plain through the words of two Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards who have dedicated themselves to lobbying for changes in the law to stop mountaintop removal mining and limit and mitigate its effect on the environment in Appalachia.

Design Choices

A companion to Oil Sands, Mountaintops to Moonscapes comprises a large format book with slip-sleeve, hand-bound in multiple parts, and a booklet in which origami folding techniques are used to express the violence being done to the Appalachian landscape.

Large book

As with Oil Sands, the team chose a generous format for the larger book to perfectly show the huge landscapes Alan was documenting, along with the vast areas of land being destroyed.  Photographs of leafy mountain towns soon give way to the industry of mountaintop removal mining.  The book is bound in four parts, allowing the photos to overlap in different combinations, showing the complicated relationship between environmental issues and the local economy.  The final image is one large photo showing the destruction left behind. The cover is printed on a textured card representing the tactile nature of the land.


A small booklet containing text-based information accompanies the larger book and includes a paper explosion that gives sculptural form to the mountaintop removal mining process. 

Mountaintops to Moonscapes has been printed as edition of 100. Available to buy in the shop

Mountaintops to Moonscapes was conceived and produced by the team at Gignoux Photos: Alan Gignoux, photographer; Chloe Juno, creative consultant; Emily Macaulay, Stanley James press, designer; and Jenny Christensson, editor.

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