The Appalachia is coal country and photographer and artist, Daniel Shea has surveyed its extraction – a rather god-like mining process called mountaintop removal – through its ecological, industrial, and human implications.
In a saturated daytime the series depicts a place where coal mining is omnipresent in every frame. Distance, which makes mountains look blue also blends the vast cooling towers into the horizon, plumes rise up and merge with clouds and heavy machinery becomes furniture in the landscape. All the while, the people struggle with the reality of their situation.
To Daniel it was these beleaguered people who presented themselves as the "most compelling narrative element, rendering notions of “necessary evils” and “sacrifices” relatively useless political rhetoric."
Removing Mountains captures the destruction – the literal blowing apart of the mountain to access its coal seams – with the aim of making a “social documentary narrative.” Opting for perspectives, literally and socially that allow Daniel to look in and out at the same time, stating: “I’m interested in evaluating the historical importance of landscape depiction and the image’s role in polarising otherwise complex political realities.”