After the unusual celebration of Columbus Day, the controversial celebration of Italian-American pride, we continue our journey through United States of America’s memory and present. Coal, an apparently anachronistic combustible, still supplies the most part of United States’ needs and it has been recently at the center of 2016 electoral campaign. Coal will keep on playing un unexpected main role for the social, energetic and environmental politics of the forthcoming future. Images captured by Isaak Liptzin (Awen Films) while on a reporting trip during the 2016 presidential election.
Coalwood, population under 1000, lies in the heart of West Virginia’s coal country. Made famous by Homer Hickam Jr.’s autobiographical novel “October Sky,” it’s one of the many communities born and sustained by the mines. Coalwood today in the portrait of a region in deep crisis, a landscape marked as far as the eye can see by semi-abandoned towns and montains blighted by derelict mines, victims of gradual retreat by vast industrial fiefdoms. Not far, lies the Asco coal mine: 18 miners, 10 on the day shift and 8 on the night shift. Trifling numbers that demonstrate the precariousness of the few who still hold the jobs of their fathers and grandfathers, a precariousness that during the 2016 presidential campaign made of the coal miner the symbol of a frustrated white working class that was ready to embrace the message of disruption and instigation embodied by the Trump candidacy.