Black smoke: photography and coal in the twentieth century

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NAi Publishers, 2002 - Photography - 144 pages
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Until the 1960s, coal dominated life in Germany and the Netherlands in a way that future generations could hardly imagine. Coal was everywhere: belowground, on waterways, in the air, in the home--and thus, of course, in photographs. Few subjects have lent themselves so convincingly to the photographic medium as the universe of miners, mountains of coal, and its transport. Black Smokereveals the visual virtuosity inspired by the coal mines of Germany and the Netherlands. The unique, sometimes bizarre, sometimes sublime beauty of this photographic subject is manifest in work by photographers such as Nico Jesse, Chargesheimer, Fritz Fenzl, Frits Rotgans, Cas Oorthuys, Dolf Toussaint and Albert Renger-Patzsch. The images' exceptional intensity draws their force from the contrasts of black and white, man and factory, the traditional agricultural landscape and industrial progress. Accompanying texts contain short biographical sketches of the photographers and essays that consider the photographic and cultural-historical background of their work. Published in conjunction with The National Institute for Photography in the Netherlands.

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r Ruud Visschedijk
Paul van de Laar
Frits Gierstberg

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About the author (2002)

Frits Gierstberg is a writer and Head of Exhibitions at the Netherlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam.Stephen Bull is an artist and writer based in Brighton, UK. He is currently Course Director for Photography at Portsmouth University, UK.

Haveman studied art history at the University of Utrecht.

van de Laar studied social history at the Erasmus University, Rotterdam. He holds the Jurriaanse Chair in Rotterdam History at the city's Erasmus University.