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University of Connecticut University Libraries

Coal miner Lee Hipshire has just emerged from the mine at the end of the day shift. At age 46, he had worked 26 years underground. A few years later, Lee took early retirement because of Black Lung disease, or pneumoconiosis. He died at 56. Logan County, West Virginia (1976) The Quiet Sickness
A Photographic Chronicle of Hazardous Work in America:
A photography exhibit by Earl Dotter
Earl Dotter's photographs have been used extensively in textbooks, health and safety manuals, national magazines, and by the Occupational Health & Safety Administration and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. His work is vivid and insightful. In his words, "When I walk through a mine, mill, factory or on board a commercial fishing vessel, I find myself drawn to those subjects who emanate a sense of personal worth and belonging to the human family. When I experience tragedy in the workplace--death and disability--I use the camera to explore not just the person or event, but my own reaction to it. If I am successful, then the viewer will be better able to stand before the photograph and feel the intensity of the moment as I myself felt it."

Earl Dotter enjoys a national reputation for his workplace photographs. He seeks out those individuals who take steps to improve their lives by using the camera to give testament to their achievements. The images that result tell of the satisfaction of the work as well as of its dangerous and dehumanizing aspects. In presenting this exhibit we remind ourselves and exhibit visitors that there are people laboring under adverse conditions who rely on occupational health professionals, government regulators, and the public to help eliminate job-related fatalities, injuries, and illness.

Dodd Research Center, West Corridor
Curator: Terri Goldich


This exhibit is sponsored jointly by The University Libraries & The University of Connecticut's Center for Environmental Health.