“Earl Dotter in Low Coal WVA 1976 and Ground Zero NYC 2001”, courtesy of Earl Dotter.
Emergency responders on Ground Zero after September 11. Coal miners are on their way to what could be their last day in a dangerous mine. Asbestos workers handling hazardous materials. Every day, ordinary people submit to dangerous and unsanitary conditions to earn regular wages – and award-winning photojournalist Earl dotter have documented their lives for over 50 years.
The resulting work will be featured in two simultaneous photography exhibitions in the Drexel Collection at Drexel University, from June 29 to September 1. An opening reception will be held on June 29 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Rincliff Gallery.
LIFE’S WORK: A Fifty-Year Photographic Chronicle of Work in the United States demonstrates the breadth of his work in professional photography by presenting photographs of people with perilous working conditions in poultry processing factories, coal mines, hospitals and fishing boats, for example.
The second exhibition, BADGES: Commemorative tribute to asbestos workers, focuses exclusively on American workers exposed to asbestos in the mining, manufacturing and installation of products by companies fully aware of the risk of exposure.
Through his decades of photographing workers, Dotter shows how important documentation is to improving working conditions in the United States. The exhibits were presented at the University through the generosity of Arthur L. Frank, MD, PhD, Professor and Chairman Emeritus, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Dornsife School of Public Health.
In 2009, Frank sponsored an exhibition in the Drexel Collection titled Monotypes by Matt Phillips: An Exhibition from the Collection of Arthur L. and Joanne B. Frank. The Drexel Collection also partnered with the Dornsife School of Public Health in 2015 by organizing an exhibition of photographs, Outreach: Tulsa Series by Larry Clark, illustrating the drug use of the photographer and his friends. A conference on the opioid epidemic was held during the broadcast.
“I really enjoy working with the Dornsife School of Public Health and discovering how our works of art – especially photographs – document, address and present the concerns of our public health workers,” said Lynn Clouser, Director by The Drexel Collection. “Art can open the discussion and bring those who are not particularly affected by these issues or who do not know them into the conversation.”
To complete the images, The Drexel Collection will host two lunch-conferences to contextualize the working conditions and the images.
Frank will host a conference at noon on July 11 entitled “Understanding the Workplace Through Photography”.
“It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words,” Frank said. “Earl Dotter’s work graphically illustrates the dangers of the job, and as an occupational physician, these photographs help me and others understand these dangers.”
Dotter will be holding a conference at noon on August 8 titled “The Work of Life”. He will discuss the current exhibition and his work as a professional and environmental photographer, as well as his early artistic influences at the School of Visual Arts in New York from 1967 to 1968, and how this led him to focus his camera on the lives of working Americans. The conference will offer the public an illustrated vision of the trajectory of his career as a photographer.
The exhibitions will be presented at the Rincliff Gallery from June 29 to September 1, with a vernissage on June 29.
The Rincliff Gallery is open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday. The Gallery is free and open to the public.
For more information, contact Lynn Clouser, Deputy Director of The Drexel Collection, at 215.895.2414 or [email protected]