Thursday, August 18, 2016Sunday, March 19, 2017
Revisited Online: May 26, 2020 -- Ongoing

Family of Miners

Milton Rogovin
Untitled, from the series "Family of Miners: New Mexico," 1988
Gelatin silver print on paper, 10× 8 inches
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jon Vein

I feel that people should have an opportunity to work and live decently, and I didn’t see those two things in Appalachia.

—Milton Rogovin


In 1962, Rogovin took his first images of mountains in Appalachia devastated by mining operations. Eventually, he developed an entire series focused on miners, extending the theme internationally to capture the labor and lives of miners across the globe. Photographing underground posed a challenge technically and socially. Narrow, dark hallways would not allow much distance between camera and subject. Rogovin had to develop a relationship with the subject to be allowed into the intimacy of not only home, but also work. Rogovin thought it essential to avoid the glorification of poverty and difficult working conditions. Viewers must look closely and carefully to absorb the gravity of the images. The small size of the photographs was an intentional mechanism to encourage thoughtful looking.