Mining Images

From Underground to Open Pit

Harvey Richards mining photos spanned the transition from deep shaft mining of the early 20th century to open pit mining that became dominant in the second half.

His interest in mining is not surprising given two generations of family involvement starting with his grandfather, Larkin Richardson, and continuing with his father, Harvey Richards, Sr., both of whom were mining engineers at one time in their lives.

In the 1950’s, Harvey was an active organizer in the Butte, Montana area with the Communist Party, helping the miners’ union organizations there during strikes.  When circumstances changed later in the 1950’s, and he took up photography, he returned to Butte to make Perch of the Devil, the story of the miner’s strike of 1959. At the end of his active years as a photographer, he made Tale of Ruin, his last film in 1978 about open pit mining and the role of mining in capitalist resource exploitation, international geo-politics and its impact on the environment .  In between these films, and as part of both film projects, he took still photos which are presented here in two galleries, the first from the 1959 film trip and the second from subsequent trips to Butte and elsewhere photographing open pit mining operations.

Butte Montana, 1959

Butte Miner’s Union No. 1 Strikes Anaconda Copper Company, 1959   Harvey Richards went to Butte Montana in the winter of 1959 to make a film in support of the miners on strike against Anaconda Copper Company.  He produced a … Continue reading

Butte’s Berkeley Pit: Violating Life on Earth

Abandoned and Deadly: The Open Pit Lives on Harvey Richards went to Butte, Montana to photograph the miner’s strike of 1959.  He returned in 1966 and 1973 photographing the huge gaping hole known as the Berkeley Pit (operated from 1955 … Continue reading