Moira Lovell photographs staged portraits that tackle gender, class and political issues. 'We Still Stand' is a photographic project she undertook between 2009 and 2011. It reunites the striking coal miners of the 1980s with the derelict, inoperable mines of now where they used to work. Her photos contain a lot of imagery and refer back to the past, such as the blackness being a metaphor for industry and the power cuts experienced during the strikes. Meanwhile the chiaroscuro lighting creates a seam of light that Lovell uses to merge the past with the present. This enables the viewer to see how the miners have aged now, whilst standing in a setting of times gone by.One of the things I like most about this work is finding out from the video that Lovell gave the men no direction in terms of how to pose for the camera. It creates a tension between the men and the camera, possibly also a reference back to the feelings experienced on the picket lines. That despite all the disruption that occurred during the strikes, and the pit closures that followed, both the miners and the mines still exist, separated by the passing of time.
Making the subject aware of the camera, but unaware of how to respond, is a technique I'd like to explore further during my People & Place module. Watch the video below to find out Moira Lovell's explanation of 'We Still Stand'.