This is part of the coal mine in Sago, WV, where 13 miners were trapped in an explosion on January 2, 2006. Intensive media coverage brought the developing story into homes around the world. As you may know, 12 of those miners died and there was a lone survivor.
I grew up about a mile from here (by dirt road). Sago was home to my local swimmin' hole and there's a spot there, on a particular cluster of rocks in the Buckhannon River, that was my "thinking place". As a youth I used to ride past the spot of the mine on my motorcycle, fishing poles strapped to the bike.
For the record, my mom's family were all coal miners, dating back to my grandfather who worked in a company store near the turn of the last century (in Marion County, WV, where 361 miners died in an explosion in 1907, the largest mine accident in U.S. history). There's a lot I can say about the politics of coal mining and the sacrifices made by a population, but that's for another forum. If you have any interest in the vital role that West Virginia and coal mining have played in shaping U.S. labor and civil rights history, here's a chronicle of the W.V. Coal Mining Wars. I also highly recommend the John Sayles film, "Matewan".
|Focal Length:||14 mm|
Our forefathers paid greatly to provide for their families, it was a very hard life back then and indeed cost too many their lives. Thank the Lord for the Unions, they really did alot to improve conditions in community life & such a hazardous working environment.
Your photo (i'm sure it's me) invokes a sense of sadness. Maybe it's the overcast sky, or the buildings shade of blue? One of my absolute FAVORITE songs is "Miner's Prayer" Beautiful Bluegrass...you can find it at the top of my posting....
Scott on 25th April 2009 @ 12:59am
The photo purposely invokes sadness for me, too, Scott. It started as a purely documentary photograph but I tweaked the color and the cloudy sky a bit for more dramatic effect. It didn't take much, though.
I've never been comfortable pointing a camera at people in distress but am okay with the showing the elements around them. That's probably why I ended up as an advertising photographer and not a photojournalist.
Jim T. on 25th April 2009 @ 7:34am
When I initially opened this page I thought that there was a problem with my computer screen, but the attached story gives the photograph plenty of soul.
In looking for for a positive element to the photo, I did notice that if I crop out most of the left side, I'm left with some very complimentary angles created by the conduits, wires, the angularity of the building and the road disappearing off to the right of the scene.
Thanks for sharing.
Ramón on 25th April 2009 @ 1:59pm
love the dark mood of this image
Jim, i've dropped you an email a week ago on the print exchange, it might got lost or caught by an antispam filter
anyway, you can contact me by the email address i always give with my comments or through my blog
yz on 25th April 2009 @ 2:09pm