I took a short trip to Centralia, Pennsylvania a few years ago, and while I didn’t spend much time photographing in the abandoned town, I spent a good deal of time driving around the area, and photographed in inactive areas of the few surface mines I could sneak into (sneaking with an 8x10 is not exactly easy). What I saw in the mines and the surrounding communities sparked an interest in conflict between the mining companies and the residents, as well as the physical damage to the environment, the hazards to the populations' health, and the larger implication for the world's climate. It was something I really intended to investigate further this coming winter and spring. So, when I first saw Matt Niebuhr's post about Daniel Shea's project on mountain top removal I was a little disappointed that he had beat me to it—which is a subject Cara Philips seems to have beaten me to writing about also . . . *
However, after spending a good deal of time on Daniel's blog this evening, I discovered that not only is he an excellent photographer, but his approach and dedication the subject, and to the project as a whole, is very admirable. I feel it is a level to which we can all hope to aspire.
Daniel Shea from the series: On coal and Appalachia
*NOTE: In general, I think the whole "I can't do this now because someone else did it first" argument is a crock. I feel, that if done honestly, whatever you do will be completely your own, The only time when something like that becomes an issue is when it comes time to selling it, or defending it in art school . . . (thank god I missed out on that—but that is a whole other can of worms . . . )