Onsite: Men of Mining, an exhibit of photographs taken by Laszlo Bencze, will be on display at Viewpoint Photographic Art Center at 2015 J Street, Sacramento, California June 5 through July 6, 2013. Included are many images made on assignment for the drilling company, National EWP, headquartered in Woodland CA.
As Bencze explains, mining companies get a bad rap in the press. No one wants a mine in their back yard. On the other hand everyone wants computers, TV sets, cars, cameras, washing machines, cell phones and all the other good stuff of modern culture. And just about all of that good stuff begins life somewhere in the ground.
The people of mining work hard, safe, and honorably taking pains to cause as little damage to the environment as possible and remediating that which is inevitable. I have enjoyed my assignments onsite and have come to admire these dedicated workers, craftsmen, and artisans who transform dirt into the raw material of civilization.
Mines are busy and dangerous places which is why they do not allow casual visitors. But when I’m on assignment I can photograph just about anything I please. That’s when I see that concern for the environment is more than a bare bones reaction to legal demands. Returning land to a natural state requires not only science but also a measure of artistry. Sometimes the reclaimed land looks more like earth art by Andy Goldsworthy than a former mine site. Fail safe systems for preventing spills and accidents also tend to make for interesting pictures. I hope the images in this exhibition illuminate a mysterious world that is often misunderstood.
Bio: Laszlo Bencze established a reputation in the Pacific Northwest as a top ranked photographer of industry over the past forty years. He moved to the Sacramento area in 2009 and continues his world travels for major American companies. He has had one-man shows at the Camerawork Gallery in Portland and the University of Portland. He has presented photography workshops and seminars in Anchorage, Portland and Seattle. Currently he teaches "The Art of Seeing" at Viewpoint Photographic Art Center.