Canary in a Coal Mine

Spencer Murphy

Spencer has been working on this personal project, documenting coal miners and their working environments.

“A few years back, I was sent to photograph a miner as part of an editorial commission I was working on. At the time I was aware of the wealth of potential pictures, that given more time, I would have liked to take.

I approached the Arts Council with a brief and they agreed to support me.

Mining has such a rich history in photography but nothing, that I was aware of, that brought it into the present day. I wanted to create something that was both a timeless historical document, whilst making contemporary images.

Access has been difficult to arrange but with thanks to the Brownley family and Thorseby Colliery, I was able to achieve what I’d set out to do.”