Sunday, April 18, 2010

Montcoal Mine Disaster

Before photos, a few words:

When news of an explosion in a coal mine in Montcoal, West Virginia broke last Monday afternoon, I sent an email to my editor in New York asking if I could go cover the story. Before I knew it I was cruising down Route 29 toward the coal fields of West Virginia.

I arrived in Montcoal, W. Va. early the next morning to begin an exhausting three days of shooting. Access to the mine itself was incredibly restrictive compared to past mine disasters, like the Sago explosion in 2006, so a lot of the media's focus was on the reaction of the local community. Pretty much every major news organization in the U.S. found its way to Montcoal, so as usual it was great shooting along friends and colleagues like Mark Wilson of Getty Images, Saul Loeb of AFP, and Haraz Ghanbari of the Associated Press. Also great to meet new friends like Andrew Spear, and Garrett Hubbard.

I learned a lot about myself, my shooting, and more importantly about the mining community in West Virginia. Mining is a way of life and a generational tradition for many West Virginians. Here are my images (all transmitted from the Dairy Queen in Whitesville)

Jo Ann Kuhn held a candle during a vigil in Whitesville, W. Va.for the coal miners who perished in the blast at the Upper Big Branch Coal mine in Montcoal, W. Va. Wednesday, April 7, 2010. "We are all miners," Kuhn said.(Luke Sharrett/The New York Times)


Friday, April 9, 2010


Here are some photos from the month of March.

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on energy security to airmen with a new bio-fuel F-18 "Green Hornet" at Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Facility Washington, March 31, 2010. (Luke Sharrett/The New York Times)