Page, Raissa. (7 of 9). Oral History of British Photography.
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1994-11-15 and 1994-11-16
Cross Ash, South Wales.
Page, Raissa, 1932-2011 (speaker, female)
Mullen, Michael Ann, (speaker, male)
Part 7. Advantage of belonging to Format: variety of commissioned work; opportunity to see work of others; chance for discussion; hard-news jobs for women. Interesting work at Greenham Common and of the miner’s wives during Miners strike.; media interest in Greenham pictures but not in miner’s wives. Role of police in miners strike: shipped out of their local areas; worked with no identification numbers on their jackets; photographers required to show Metropolitan Police cards; NUJ cards not honoured. More on miners wives photos, mass lack of interest; previous commission by Observer to do picture story on women miners in West Virginia; all US mines are private and safety procedures and conditions generally bad. Not possible to get permission to photograph on mining premises. Made contacts which she still maintains; details. One woman, Cosby Totin, was especially remarkable, once illiterate, now president of Women Miners Group. Also pictures of homeless families in ‘licensed accommodation’ in Coventry; pictures of Navajo miners in open cast mines in Arizona. Also miners who work in deep pit coal and uranium mines in Utah, a Mormon area where miners are considered non believers. Background to culture of US mining and strikes there. Photographed Lemar Preston, miner disabled underground, fighting a case for 10 years trying to get compensation. Mine owners avoid compensation claims after major incidents like cave ins by selling the mine. New company not legally required to compensate previous employees.
Performer notes : Social documentary photographer and member of Format agency.