By Joshua Robinson –
A major new exhibition has opened at National Coal Mining Museum for England, celebrating the work and career of Martyn Pitt who documented the final years of coal mining in his role as the industry’s photographer.
Retiring in 2012 after over 30 years behind the camera, Pitt’s expansive portfolio chronicles the development and decline of the coal mining industry in this country. The exhibition focuses primarily on his underground photography, giving visitors a peek into the hidden world hundreds of metres below.
As the national photographer for the coal industry, the exhibition examines Pitt’s role and responsibilities in documenting the conditions, practices, and stories of the last years of coal mining.
The Museum acquired Pitt’s image archive in 2014 which spans the period of privatisation between 1994-2012 and includes film negatives and digital photographs, taken while working for British Coal, RJB Mining, and UK Coal.
Pitt’s work was used to illustrate mining reviews, safety posters, newspapers, etc. These images equate to the sole visual record of mining during that period.
Want the latest news in Kirklees sent directly to your phone? Join the KLTV WhatsApp Community today!
Visitors can expect to see a range of photographs, from dramatic and immersive underground shots of machinery in action, to the camaraderie – and often humour – of the miners that powered an industry. Coalfields across the country are featured in the exhibition, from Kellingley to Daw Mill, Welbeck to Ellington, Point of Ayr to the Forest of Dean.
This exhibition is the first major showing of Martyn Pitt’s legacy of work.
Mark Carlyle, Curator of Industry, said: “We are excited to be celebrating the work of Martyn Pitt, showcasing his career in underground photography through our new exhibition. These photographs are truly unique in that they offer visitors an insight into the working conditions of modern coal mines over the last thirty years.”
Title: Martyn Pitt: A Life In Photography
Dates: Saturday 21 October 2023 – Sunday 18 February 2024
Venue: National Coal Mining Museum for England – Exhibition Space