Shaft Miner at the 2500 Foot Level Station Before Drilling
Artist: Louie Palu
Picture: Shaft Miner at the 2500 Foot Level Station Before Drilling,
Louvicourt Mine, Val d'Or, Quebec,
Book: Cage Call: Life and Death in the Hard Rock Mining Belt, Published in 2007
Louie Palu is an artist who is mostly known in Canada. He held an internship with photographer Mary Ellen Marks in New York. After his internship he moved back to Toronto where he was a staff photographer for Canada’s national newspaper The Globe And Mail.In 1991 he began what would result in 12-years of field-work documenting the working lives of miners collaborating with writer Charlie Angus which would become the critically acclaimed body of work Cage Call: Life and Death in the Hard Rock Mining Belt, which won the Critical Mass Book Award.
The body of work in his book called Cage Call: Life and Death in the Hard Rock Mining Belt, examines life in Canada’s geologically enormous hard rock mining belt. The photographs are documents of the people, land and work involved in underground mining and smelting. Louie’s photos tell the true life story of miners and the dangers and benefits of the life they live. Many of his pictures in the book were of the miners and their families, and neighborhoods. Palu's workers are both tragic and heroic; the world they inhabit is dark and dangerous but it is also beautiful and compelling.
In Shaft Miner at the 2500 Foot Level Station Before Drilling, Louvicourt Mine, Val d'Or, Quebec, we see a solitary figure from behind, bathed in light from above, hands raised in a an empathetic yet unclear gesture. At first glance, without prior knowledge of the picture that is taken in the mines, it seems as though the aliens are coming, and man is welcoming them. The reason I chose this photography book is because, I find mines fascinating and horrible at the same time. I liked this picture because of the contrast and the glow from the above ground. I also like the glow the lone miners hat bounces off around the darkness. I also find the shapes involved of the mine, vertical, horizontal, and circular shapes to bring depth to the image. The image itself is powerful as it creates a scary notion of being alone in a mine, with only a metal object coming from the light. Because the image is so real looking, I wouldn’t change it because it would take away from the authenticity of the authors work on portraying the real life involved in mines.