Sun, earth, energy, and life: a history carved in rock.

Coal is the legacy of Earth’s past written in the black fragments of its bowels—a heritage of energy generously bequeathed by our planet. Geological forces preserved the energy captured by plants and converted it into chemical energy, keeping it safe and intact for hundreds of millions of years until today.

These pieces of energy and life, located in tiny corners of our microcosm, tell us about extinct plant species and rich funerary treasures: the vital energy obtained from the particles carrying sunlight. When light hits these traces, it reveals the suggestive micro-landscapes that narrate this important story carved in rock.

I feel a vital need to search for these moments. I travel across our microcosm—a world that is familiar and yet so unknown—to capture a few of these suggestive encounters. Here, I present unedited visions for consumption by the naked eye.

—Antonio Romero

You can follow Romero’s work on his personal website.

If you’d like to see more photography like this, we’d recommend these previous features: Cosmos, images of our galaxy that have been exposed to bacteria and warped in surprising ways; Big Bang Bullet Holes, photographs that recreate the moment our world was formed; and MATTER/BURN OUT, a mesmerizing photobook by Daisuke Yokota that considers random beauty, materiality, and impermanence.