Knight Center faculty publish steel photography research

Bethlehem #16

Smoke Series, Bethlehem #16, Lackawanna NY 1988:” Image copyright John Pfahl

Environmental impacts of steelmaking are felt in communities where steel is made and beyond, from dramatic changes in landscapes to smoke-darkened horizons to contaminated ponds.
For photographers and other artists—painters, poets, songwriters—those impacts provide an opportunity to use their creative works to draw public attention to ecological conditions at operating and abandoned mills.

redevelopment project

Atlantic Steel Redevelopment Project, Demolition, 2000-2001 (Mill Substructure Demolition, 2000). Image: copyright Ruth Dusseault

A new study by Knight Center associated faculty member Howard Bossen and director Eric Freedman explores how three American photographers—Masumi Hayashi, John Pfahl and Ruth Dusseault—used their images to raise social consciousness of steel-related environmental problems. It found that despite differences in their photographic techniques, each photographer has created a potent marriage of aesthetics with social commentary and a public agenda through documenting unwelcome and welcome changes in communities affected by steelmaking.
Site 666, EPA Superfund Site

Republic Steel Mill Quarry Site 666, Elyria, Ohio, 1988. Image: copyright Masumi Hayashi

The article, “Making Steel, Making Prosperity, Making Pollution, Making Images: The Environmental Photography of Steel Mills, appears in Visual Communication Quarterly.