Portfolio > Transatlantic Seam: Black Deserts and Grudging Grass

The coalfields of Northeastern Pennsylvannia and South Wales occupy two ends of the Transatlantic seam, a concentration of coal separated by transatlantic drift over a span of millions of years. The areas share a more recent history that stretches back to the mid--Nineteenth Century, a period that saw a major influx of Welsh immigrants into the Wilkes-Barre /Scranton area. New arrivals drawn by the promise of work in the coalfields, often left one mining landscape for another as they confronted an area that bore a number of similarities with their homeland. Over the course of the twentieth century the mining industry in both regions suffered a similar fate, becoming obsolete largely as result of the Knox Mining disaster in Pennsylvania and a series of factors in Wales ranging from the Aberfan disaster in 1966 to the large-scale colliery closings of the Thatcherite Eighties.
These historical and geological links serve as the basis for Transatlantic Seam which juxtaposes the mining landscapes of the South Wales valleys and the Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania. In addition to a shared history these areas confront similar problems in the present day ranging from issues of reclamation to the role of the heritage industry in the global economy. At the same time, differences become apparent in images of the two areas. The ubiquitous birches that populate the Pennsylvanian culm banks provide a contrast to what Gwyn Thomas described as the “dim, grudging grass” of the Welsh tips. Similarly, the edges of these landscapes reveal different patterns of settlement while the slag heaps themselves are subject to a variety of reclamation efforts. Transatlantic Seam explores these connections in hopes of inspiring a dialogue about the legacy of mining and the future of the landscapes upon which it has left its traces.

Bargoed
C print
40" x 50"
2004
Port Griffith, Pennsylvania
Digital C Print
20" x 24"
2002
Swoyersville, Pennsylvania
Digital C Print
20" x 24"
2002
Tylorstown
C Print
20" x 24"
2005
Swoyersville, Pennsylvania
Digital C Print
30" x 40"
2002
Swoyersville, Pennsylvania
Digital C Print
20" x 24"
2002
Larksville, Pennsylvania
Digital C Print
20" x 24"
2002
Varteg
C Print
20" x 24"
2005
Swoyersville, Pennsylvania
Digital C Print
2002
Larksville, Pennsylvania
Digital C Print
20" x 24"
2002
Cwm Bargoed
C Print
30" x 40"
2005
Hughestown, Pennsylvania
C Print
30" x 40"
2004
Hughestown, Pennsylvania
Digital C Print
20" x 24"
2004
Hughestown, Pennsylvania
Digital C Print
20" x 24"
2004
Treorchi
C Print
20" x 24"
2005
Swoyersville, Pennsylvania
Digital C Print
30" x 40"
2002
Port Griffith, Pennsylvania
Digital C Print
20" x 24"
2002
Cwm Bargoed
C Print
2005
Exeter, Pennsylvania
Digital C Print
20" x 24"
2002
Exeter, Pennsylvania
Digital C Print
20" x 24"
2002
Bargoed
C print
20" x 24"
2004
Hughestown, Pennsylvania
Digital C Print
20" x 24"
2002
Cwm Bargoed
C Print
20" x 24"
2011
Exeter, Pennsylvania
Digital C Print
20" x 24"
2002
Hughestown, Pennsuylvania
Digital C Print
20" x 24"
2012
Bargoed
C Print
20" x 24"
2005
Blaenafon
C Print
20" x 24"
2005
Hughestown, Pennsylvania
Digital C Print
30" x 40"
2012
Blaenafon
C Print
20" x 24"
2005
Bargoed
C Print
20" x 24"
2005
Hughestown, Pennsylvania
Digital C Print
30" x 40"
2002
Cwm Bargoed
C Print
20" x 24"
2005
Swoyersville, Pennsylvania
Digital C Print
20" x 24"
2002
Cwm Bargoed
C Print
20" x 24"
2005
Port Griffith, Pennsylvania
Digital C Print
20" x 24"
2002
Blaenafon
C Print
20" x 24"
2005
Swoyersville, Pennsylvania
Digital C Print
20" x 24"
2002