Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Photographer has captured coal-mining communities in Central Appalachia for 45 years

Photographer Builder Levy has spent a great deal of his life traveling to coal communities, mostly in Central Appalachia, to capturing the essence of living and working in its coalfield. His newest book, Appalachia USA, features 69 of his photos from southern West Virginia, Eastern Kentucky and Southwest Virginia, offering a wide array of photos from the the last 45 years, Paul Nyden reports for the Charleston Gazette. (Levy photo: Coal camp in Buchanan County, Virginia, 1970)

Builder Levy
Levy told Nyden: "I grew up during the Cold War and the McCarthy era in a family that encouraged art and believed that the world needed to be changed. By the 1960s, people in our nation were marching in the streets for civil rights at home and for peace in Vietnam. In communities throughout America, people were standing up for their humanity and dignity and struggling for social justice. As an artist, I needed to find a way to have a direct connection to these realities."

Levy photographs have appeared in more than 200 exhibitions, including "Images of Appalachian Coalfields," which had "70,000 visitors when it was displayed  the West Virginia Culture Center during the spring of 1991," Nyden writes. He also published Life of the Appalachian Coal Miner in 1976, Images of Appalachian Coalfields in 1989, Builder Levy Photographer in 2005 and 25 other books. His work can be viewed on his website.

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