Daniel Shea – Removing Mountains / Coal River – Newspace Center – Portland

by Daniel Shea - from the series Removing Mountains, 2007

West Virginia, by Daniel Shea from the series Removing Mountains 2007

Removing Mountains and Coal River

March 6th through 29th
Opening Reception: Friday, March 6th 7-10pm
Artist Lecture: Saturday, March 7th, 12pm

Newspace Center for Photography
1632 SE 10th Ave. Portland, OR 97214

I’m hopeful to get to see / hear about Daniel’s work – been watching it for some time and to find out it’s coming to Newspace is wonderful news.  Get out and see it!

Here’s a previous post of mine again in the category of “handsome” aesthetic…

Shea’s images flirt with his stated interpretation in the vein of a social documentary narrative and at first glance for me are simply quite beautiful photographs. It will be fun to see the group of photos in context and in print.

It’s an interesting consideration and challenge to pursue making contemporary pictures with a strong sense and execution of a current contemporary aesthetic to convey a sense of place and people.

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What’s New ?

Here’s an example of what inspires some people to photograph – take a look at the work of Daniel Shea.


Photograph above by Daniel Shea from the series: On coal and Appalachia

Daniel shares on his blog: “Digressions” snippets about this work regarding a series of photographs of the landscape and of the people in the coal mining regions of the southeast United States and what he’s discovering through his pictures regarding the effects of mountain top removal -a “modern” surface coal mining technique applied in certain areas the Appalachia Mountains of West Virginia.
A more “edited” selection of the photo collection can be found on his website here.
This is the kind of work that carries photography of the day forward in my view.
Nothing unique or ground breaking per se, but I have to add this fits into the questions raised by what Robert Adams writes in his essay “Making Art New”. In thinking about these questions a paragraph from that essay:

“We welcome contemporary art, then, for its power to please the eye,
to record the texture of current experience, and to invest that experience with
meaning”

I find in the photographs a sense of genuine interest in picturing a complex situation – that of humankind’s relationship with the land in the general sense, but firmly situated in the context of the specifics of place and the complexities of the moment.

Nice work.