Photographer Jim LoScalzo toured lost ghost towns in the Appalachians, once thriving mining towns which became deserted when those mines closed down, leaving the decaying, abandoned structures as ghosts of the past, crumbling monuments to the everyday life of the many men who toiled beneath the ground and their families who they toiled so hard for (and often lost their lives for, deep below, away from the light of the sun and the caress of the wind). Link from Selectism, via Jonathan Carroll.
Reminded me a little of a day wandering around Prestongrange mining and industrial museum, early in spring, not another soul around, just me and rusting rail tracks, the long-disused winding wheel and old machinery. Not quite the same as his piece with the abandoned homes but still that feeling of ghosts of people, of a whole way of life gone forever, although at least here people can still come and explore that part of their industrial heritage.
I was also struck by another of his works, this time a more modern yet no less haunted ghost town, empty areas of New Orleans, street lights still working but few people returned or some neighbourhoods even devoid of those who once lived there...
Only a few days ago I was out with my dad and took some photographs of the new statue that was part of an upgraded memorial to the miners who lost their lives in the old Auchengeigh pit. The site commemorates two disasters, from the 30s and the 50s, the latter being especially bad with a large loss of life, men lost in the cold and dark deep beneath the earth. A bloody horrible, dirty, hard, dangerous job at the best of times. The statue of the miner with his head bowed was unveiled only in September to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1959 disaster. And then the other day it was stolen. Yes, stolen. Some utter lowlife scumball bastards stole a memorial to the dead, presumably for the value of the metal.
There are still people today who remember lost loved one who were victims of that disaster, but that won’t matter to these evil bastards. They must have been planning it, they would have needed heavy equipment to remove it. It was there when folks left the nearby Miner’s Welfare the night before and was gone when a local drove past early next morning. I hope they catch the bastards and get the statue back, but more than likely they have some git as unscrupulous and evil as them who is prepared to melt it down for the scrap value.
It had been raining just before I took this picture and I thought the effect in the close-up was quite good, like a cross between the sweat of hard labour and tears. Its hard not to look at the miner, head bowed and not think of my own papa whose body was broken from work in the mines.