Event box

EXHIBITION TALK: Photographer Earl Dotter

EXHIBITION TALK: Photographer Earl Dotter

Joined by special guest Brandi Son. A light lunch will be provided.

Starting with the Appalachian coalfields, Earl Dotter has dedicated his career to photographing the American worker. He has put a human face on those who labor, often in dangerous and environmentally unhealthy conditions.

In this talk, Earl Dotter will discuss his earliest work in coal mines as a photographer for the United Mine Workers of America Journal, as well as his trajectory photographing a wide array of occupational subjects. Please register below, so we can be sure to have enough lunch on hand.

The exhibition Residue: The Early Coal Mining Photographs of Earl Dotter is on view in the Rubenstein Photography Gallery through October 1, 2023 and features original B&W gelatin silver prints, correspondence, and moving image materials highlighting the camaraderie, reslience and even death that surrounded coal mining in the 1970s.

Coal miners and widows confront Kentucky congressman, Tim Lee Carter, about Black Lung Law Reform, Washington, D.C., 1975 Printed 1997, gelatin silver. Photograph by Earl DotterDotter's career has captured the worker's life on the job, at home and in the community. He has published numerous monographs, including The Quiet Sickness: A Photographic Chronicle of Hazardous Work in America (1998), and his most recent publication, Life's Work, A Fifty-Year Photographic Chronicle of Working in the U.S.A. (2018). Dotter has also exhibited his work widely in the communities he photographs, including The Price of Fish, a project examining the dangers of commercial fishing. The project grew out of the Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellowship he was awarded in 2000 and culminated in a touring exhibit at various New England warfs, around where the photographs were made. Dotter is also a Visiting Scholar to the Harvard School of Public Health as part of their Occupational and Environmental Health Program.

Joining Dotter for a moderated discussion will be Brandi Son. Son is the daugther of coal miner Donnie Morrow, killed at the age of 27, on June 24, 1975 at the Island Creek Coal Crescent Mine, in Madisonville, Kentucky. As part of his work with the UMWA Journal, Dotter photographed Son, then 14-months old, with her siblings and mother at their home shortly after Morrow was killed. These photographs and recent correspondence with Son are on view as part of the exhibiton.

The Earl Dotter collection of photographs and papers is a recent addition to the Archive of Documentary Arts.

[Photo Captions, top left: Blaine Lester, coal cutting machine operator in a 30" seam, Logan County, West Virginia, 1976; In Text: Coal miners and widows confront Kentucky congressman, Tim Lee Carter, about Black Lung Law Reform, Washington, D.C., 1975. ©Earl Dotter]

Requests for accommodations can be sent to caitlin.kelly@duke.edu. Please give us at least 48 hours notice. Duke visitor parking information can be found here. The Bryan Center lot will be the closest.


Tuesday, September 19, 2023
12:00pm - 1:30pm
Rubenstein Library 153 (Holsti-Anderson Family Assembly Room)
Exhibits   Public Event   Rubenstein  
Registration has closed.

Event Organizer

Profile photo of Caitlin Kelly
Caitlin Kelly