5.21.2008

mining

They’re all still here. Dog, Booger, Repo and McGoo. Their discolored, mangled name tags hang on nails tacked to a wooden plank as they work deep in the earth with only a headlamp to illuminate their paths. They spend eight or ten hours a day underground, working hard to support their lifestyle. Despite the exchange of mules for gas, ghosts of the past still rein strong. You can see the rough black faces of disheveled men shoving wads of chew under their lower lip. They’ll crack punchlines and make jokes. But before continuing down the shaft into the deep black, they’re sure to tell each other to be safe. The price of coal is high. Consumption fuels the toll on the environment and the constant risk on the workers’ lives. And as dependence on coal falls, eastern Kentucky will struggle to keep up, leaving this slice of rural America life lost in the dark.

I was able to go down into a small independent mine the last day of shooting. I only got about an hour down there, but it was a great experience. I just wish I could go spend a couple weeks with these guys...hopefully I can go back sometime and do that.

5 comments:

J Rizzo said...

The textures in that first photo are beautiful. What kind of mine was it? Coal?

Tim Hussin said...

I ended up taking a lot of peopleless photos here because everything seemed like this...full of texture.

Kentucky is one of the biggest coal mining states in the country. Eastern Kentucky has the most productive coal fields in the nation. Some say its dying compared to how huge it was, but those who are a part of it say that it is just as strong as it was. You can talk to anyone in or out of town and they are either coal miners themselves or know coal miners.

J Rizzo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J Rizzo said...

I doubt the town is going anywhere, about a quarter of the world's energy comes from coal plants.. and consumption is forecast to increase 75% over the next twenty years.

Though there's an undeniable fragility to communities like this, existing purely because of a single industry or natural resource. Given the right currents it could go from a thriving community to ghost town within a matter of years.

Melvin said...

Photos are really great...
thanks for this...

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Melvin
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