4 years ago

This is the face of coal in China: Portraits of Chinese miners

Chinese photographer Song Chao’s powerful black-and-white portraits of Chinese miners feature prominently at the COAL+ICE exhibition. Song grew up in a coal-mining district called Yanzhou, in China’s eastern province of Shandong.

He started working in the mines as a teenager. When he was 23, he met a photographer who encouraged him to document the lives of his fellow workers.

Few people know anything about what it’s like to be a miner, except that it involves hard labor in dangerous working conditions. But Song Chao’s perspective is unique. His portraits of miners are remarkably intimate. They capture the personalities of every miner: some defiant, others meticulous.

His photos capture humor and life in the people who provide the coal that powers millions of Chinese homes. But the coal industry in China is slowing, as the nation strives to hit its climate change goals.

Check out our video above to see Song talk about the miners he’s known, and his view of the future of a slowing industry.

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