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Coal Miner of the Ruhr Valley, Germany
Gelatin silver print
Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin
© Fritz Henle Estate, Image courtesy of Harry Ransom Center.
"I have always been intensely interested in human beings, and in many of my pictures I depict them in close relationship to their surroundings. At the time when I was documenting a number of Western European countries, one of the most fascinating regions was the Ruhr district in Germany. An accident had recently taken place in a mine, and permission to go underground was refused; when I entered a dimly lit room near the top of a pit, however, I met this miner who had just come up from the bottom of the pit. He seemed completely exhausted, and he paid very little attention to my camera (which was handheld).
I very rarely use a tripod, since it cuts down on mobility, and prefer the spontaneous approach in which a fraction of a second frequently makes the picture."
From 'Notes on the Photographs' in Fritz Henle ® 1973.