Saturday, October 9, 2010

Mining and Filming in Sveagruva

Linda and MinersI just got back from an amazing couple days at Svea. I hopped the miner's flight down just in time to meet Linda as she got off of work. Linda was outfitted in a jumpsuit and completely covered in coal dust. She took me into the miner's locker rooms, equipped with showers, sauna, clothing (including helmet's, head lamps, and boots). Svea LockersSince there are only three women in the mine, the women's area is completely surrounded by the men's locker rooms. One turn of the head, and you get quite an eyeful!

Linda completely outfitted me (not for safety to keep my clothes relatively clean). We headed out for one of the entrances to the mine.
Janet at Mine EntranceThere is a tall crane that comes out of the mine with a conveyer belt running up it. The coal is transported out of the mine on this belt and dumped in a huge pile. We climbed out to the end of the crane on a narrow walkway. The walkway was made of grating with big holes. Not only was it tough to set up a tripod, but looking down sent my heart racing.

We hopped back into the truck and set off for another mine entrance. Driving at about 60km, the trip took 15 minutes. The road heads up into the mountains and is built on top of a glacier. They have had to rebuild the road annually as the glacier keeps melting. The entrance to the mine is a gaping hole in the side of the mountain. I had permission from the mining company to film around the entrance, but not to enter the mine. I filmed Linda for a couple hours and then we made our way to the mess hall for dinner

That night I taught Linda and a couple of the miners how to use my camera. Since I wasn't allowed into the mine, they had offered to take my camera in and film for me so I could get the footage I wanted.

The next day, they brought me amazing footage of an environment that is so extreme it's hard to imagine. Not being allowed to film in the mine had been such a frustration, but ended up creating a fantastic collaboration with the miners!

Janet Biggs: Artist/Miner

1 comment:

  1. But, then, where are the pictures from inside the mine?