John Matthews – Coal Miner

Posted by on Feb 19, 2013

John Matthews Coal Miner

The images used in this blog are not the ones I will be using for the final show, they are alternates used basically because it seems daft to have a photography blog without images.

Meeting John was sobering and inspiring. We sat outside the Court Royal Miners Home in Bournemouth in the winter sunshine and he talked to me about life down the mines in the 40’s and 50’s. I had imagined it was harsh, but it wasn’t until I heard first hand what life was like in the pits that I began to grasp how tough those guys were. You might imagine that after years of working in such appalling conditions, covered in scars, stiff from countless injuries and having lost so many friends and comrades, often right by his side, that John would carry the weight on his shoulders, but far from it. He was cheery, funny and sanguine about a life of hard labour, poorly rewarded, and that few would wish for. His descriptions brought to mind a dark and forbidding cavern, which I have tried to reflect in the final image.