Santu Mofokeng, ‘Dust Storms at Noon on the R34 Between Welkom and Hennenman, Free State I’ 2007, printed 2011
Santu Mofokeng, Dust Storms at Noon on the R34 Between Welkom and Hennenman, Free State I 2007, printed 2011 . Tate . © Santu Mofokeng, courtesy Maker, Johannesburg

Room 11 in Artist and Society

Photography & Environment

Alison, Brian and Claire on the beach

Chris Killip, Alison, Brian and Claire on the beach  1983, printed 2012–13

Killip recalled: ‘When I first saw the beach at Lynemouth in January 1976, I recognised the industry above it but nothing else I was seeing. The beach beneath me was full of activity with horses and carts backed into the sea. Men were standing in the sea next to the carts, using small wire nets attached to poles to fish out the coal from the water beneath them. The place confounded time; here the Middle Ages and the 20th century intertwined.’

Gallery label, June 2021

© Chris Killip

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Boo and his rabbit

Chris Killip, Boo and his rabbit  1984, printed 2012–13

This is one of a group of ten black and white photographs in Tate’s collection from British photographer Chris Killip’s series Sea Coal, Lynemouth, Northumberland 1983–4 (Tate P81048–P81057 and P81063). The series was shot between 1983 and 1984 in the coastal village of Lynemouth in Northumberland, known for its transient community of so-called ‘sea-coalers’, people who harvested coal washed up on the local beaches from the local coal mines that had once thrived in the area. Killip came across Lynemouth while living in Newcastle in the north-east of England and described how struck he was by the place:

© Chris Killip

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Undersized, Stunted-in-Growth and Rotting Melons Dumped in the Veld Outside Kroonstad, Free State

Santu Mofokeng, Undersized, Stunted-in-Growth and Rotting Melons Dumped in the Veld Outside Kroonstad, Free State  2007, printed 2011

© Santu Mofokeng, courtesy Maker, Johannesburg

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Channel #7

Simryn Gill, Channel #7  2014

These photographs show evidence of sea pollution in a small mangrove forest in Port Dickson, Malaysia, Gill’s hometown. Colourful plastic bags and other rubbish have washed up with the tides, getting stuck in branches and roots. In the black and white photographs, it can be hard to distinguish the waste among the plants. The first photo shows large cargo ships in the distance. This suggests the activities of Port Dickson’s commercial harbour are the source of the detritus. More widely, the series raises questions about the consequences of globalisation on the environment.

Gallery label, April 2021

© Simryn Gill

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Channel #26

Simryn Gill, Channel #26  2014

These photographs show evidence of sea pollution in a small mangrove forest in Port Dickson, Malaysia, Gill’s hometown. Colourful plastic bags and other rubbish have washed up with the tides, getting stuck in branches and roots. In the black and white photographs, it can be hard to distinguish the waste among the plants. The first photo shows large cargo ships in the distance. This suggests the activities of Port Dickson’s commercial harbour are the source of the detritus. More widely, the series raises questions about the consequences of globalisation on the environment.

Gallery label, April 2021

© Simryn Gill

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Channel #12

Simryn Gill, Channel #12  2014

These photographs show evidence of sea pollution in a small mangrove forest in Port Dickson, Malaysia, Gill’s hometown. Colourful plastic bags and other rubbish have washed up with the tides, getting stuck in branches and roots. In the black and white photographs, it can be hard to distinguish the waste among the plants. The first photo shows large cargo ships in the distance. This suggests the activities of Port Dickson’s commercial harbour are the source of the detritus. More widely, the series raises questions about the consequences of globalisation on the environment.

Gallery label, April 2021

© Simryn Gill

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Channel #14

Simryn Gill, Channel #14  2014

These photographs show evidence of sea pollution in a small mangrove forest in Port Dickson, Malaysia, Gill’s hometown. Colourful plastic bags and other rubbish have washed up with the tides, getting stuck in branches and roots. In the black and white photographs, it can be hard to distinguish the waste among the plants. The first photo shows large cargo ships in the distance. This suggests the activities of Port Dickson’s commercial harbour are the source of the detritus. More widely, the series raises questions about the consequences of globalisation on the environment.

Gallery label, April 2021

© Simryn Gill

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Channel #19

Simryn Gill, Channel #19  2014

These photographs show evidence of sea pollution in a small mangrove forest in Port Dickson, Malaysia, Gill’s hometown. Colourful plastic bags and other rubbish have washed up with the tides, getting stuck in branches and roots. In the black and white photographs, it can be hard to distinguish the waste among the plants. The first photo shows large cargo ships in the distance. This suggests the activities of Port Dickson’s commercial harbour are the source of the detritus. More widely, the series raises questions about the consequences of globalisation on the environment.

Gallery label, April 2021

© Simryn Gill

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Mitch Epstein, Amos Coal Power Plant, Raymond West Virginia  2004

A coal power station looms over suburban-looking houses and gardens. A leafless tree at the centre of the image might suggest the residents are victims of its pollution. But Epstein includes plastic garden furniture and a car in the composition. These remind us that the house-owners are themselves consumers of its fuel and energy. This photograph is part of a series on US power stations. Epstein, known for his colour photographic work since the 1970s, commented: ‘I wanted to photograph the relationship between American society and the American landscape, and energy was the lynchpin’.

Gallery label, June 2021

© Mitch Epstein/Black River Productions, Ltd.

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Channel #18

Simryn Gill, Channel #18  2014

These photographs show evidence of sea pollution in a small mangrove forest in Port Dickson, Malaysia, Gill’s hometown. Colourful plastic bags and other rubbish have washed up with the tides, getting stuck in branches and roots. In the black and white photographs, it can be hard to distinguish the waste among the plants. The first photo shows large cargo ships in the distance. This suggests the activities of Port Dickson’s commercial harbour are the source of the detritus. More widely, the series raises questions about the consequences of globalisation on the environment.

Gallery label, April 2021

© Simryn Gill

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Channel #13

Simryn Gill, Channel #13  2014

These photographs show evidence of sea pollution in a small mangrove forest in Port Dickson, Malaysia, Gill’s hometown. Colourful plastic bags and other rubbish have washed up with the tides, getting stuck in branches and roots. In the black and white photographs, it can be hard to distinguish the waste among the plants. The first photo shows large cargo ships in the distance. This suggests the activities of Port Dickson’s commercial harbour are the source of the detritus. More widely, the series raises questions about the consequences of globalisation on the environment.

Gallery label, April 2021

© Simryn Gill

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Santu Mofokeng, Dust Storms at Noon on the R34 Between Welkom and Hennenman, Free State I  2007, printed 2011

Mofokeng’s work draws links between historical trauma and what he calls ‘mutations in nature’. In his series Climate Change, he traces the damage caused by South Africa’s history of mining and abandoned industrial progress. These photographs document land turning into desert, flooding and polluted soil. They also point to the effects of massive carbon emissions on the entire planetary ecosystem. ‘I’m saying: this is what we’re all afraid of’, he commented.

Gallery label, June 2021

© Santu Mofokeng, courtesy Maker, Johannesburg

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Channel #25

Simryn Gill, Channel #25  2014

These photographs show evidence of sea pollution in a small mangrove forest in Port Dickson, Malaysia, Gill’s hometown. Colourful plastic bags and other rubbish have washed up with the tides, getting stuck in branches and roots. In the black and white photographs, it can be hard to distinguish the waste among the plants. The first photo shows large cargo ships in the distance. This suggests the activities of Port Dickson’s commercial harbour are the source of the detritus. More widely, the series raises questions about the consequences of globalisation on the environment.

Gallery label, April 2021

© Simryn Gill

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Channel #11

Simryn Gill, Channel #11  2014

These photographs show evidence of sea pollution in a small mangrove forest in Port Dickson, Malaysia, Gill’s hometown. Colourful plastic bags and other rubbish have washed up with the tides, getting stuck in branches and roots. In the black and white photographs, it can be hard to distinguish the waste among the plants. The first photo shows large cargo ships in the distance. This suggests the activities of Port Dickson’s commercial harbour are the source of the detritus. More widely, the series raises questions about the consequences of globalisation on the environment.

Gallery label, April 2021

© Simryn Gill

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Channel #6

Simryn Gill, Channel #6  2014

These photographs show evidence of sea pollution in a small mangrove forest in Port Dickson, Malaysia, Gill’s hometown. Colourful plastic bags and other rubbish have washed up with the tides, getting stuck in branches and roots. In the black and white photographs, it can be hard to distinguish the waste among the plants. The first photo shows large cargo ships in the distance. This suggests the activities of Port Dickson’s commercial harbour are the source of the detritus. More widely, the series raises questions about the consequences of globalisation on the environment.

Gallery label, April 2021

© Simryn Gill

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The Eye in the Sky

Gauri Gill, Rajesh Vangad, The Eye in the Sky  2014–16

These photographs show evidence of sea pollution in a small mangrove forest in Port Dickson, Malaysia, Gill’s hometown. Colourful plastic bags and other rubbish have washed up with the tides, getting stuck in branches and roots. In the black and white photographs, it can be hard to distinguish the waste among the plants. The first photo shows large cargo ships in the distance. This suggests the activities of Port Dickson’s commercial harbour are the source of the detritus. More widely, the series raises questions about the consequences of globalisation on the environment.

Gallery label, June 2021

© reserved

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Moira hand-picking in the very good fur coat

Chris Killip, Moira hand-picking in the very good fur coat  1984, printed 2012–13

This is one of a group of ten black and white photographs in Tate’s collection from British photographer Chris Killip’s series Sea Coal, Lynemouth, Northumberland 1983–4 (Tate P81048–P81057 and P81063). The series was shot between 1983 and 1984 in the coastal village of Lynemouth in Northumberland, known for its transient community of so-called ‘sea-coalers’, people who harvested coal washed up on the local beaches from the local coal mines that had once thrived in the area. Killip came across Lynemouth while living in Newcastle in the north-east of England and described how struck he was by the place:

© Chris Killip

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Brian in a duffle coat

Chris Killip, Brian in a duffle coat  1984, printed 2012–13

Killip’s series Sea Coal, Lynemouth, Northumberland was shot between 1982 and 1984 in a coastal village in North East England. Lynemouth was known for its community of so-called ‘sea-coalers’. Sea-coalers made their living by collecting and selling coal washed up on the beach. The coal came from local mines. It had been spilled or dumped into the sea for decades, alongside other industrial waste. In the early 1980s, many mines and factories closed across England as part of a wider process of deindustrialisation. Hundreds of thousands of heavy industry workers were left without a job. Many sea-coalers were ex-miners.

Gallery label, June 2021

© Chris Killip

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‘Critch’ and Sean surveying the landscape, Seacoal Camp, Lynemouth, Northumberland

Chris Killip, ‘Critch’ and Sean surveying the landscape, Seacoal Camp, Lynemouth, Northumberland  1982, printed 2013

Killip is best known for photographs taken in the 1970s and 1980s in North East England. These capture the effects of deindustrialisation and economic recession on people and the landscape. This series also shows the environmental consequences of heavy mining, with coal polluting the sea around coastal collieries. Many British mines were closed down in the 1980s. This was not primarily to reduce pollution or carbon emissions, however. The UK continued to rely heavily on fossil fuels. It just imported it from countries where labour was cheaper.

Gallery label, June 2021

© Chris Killip

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Rocker and John dressed in fertilizer sacks

Chris Killip, Rocker and John dressed in fertilizer sacks  1983, printed 2012–13

This is one of a group of ten black and white photographs in Tate’s collection from British photographer Chris Killip’s series Sea Coal, Lynemouth, Northumberland 1983–4 (Tate P81048–P81057 and P81063). The series was shot between 1983 and 1984 in the coastal village of Lynemouth in Northumberland, known for its transient community of so-called ‘sea-coalers’, people who harvested coal washed up on the local beaches from the local coal mines that had once thrived in the area. Killip came across Lynemouth while living in Newcastle in the north-east of England and described how struck he was by the place:

© Chris Killip

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Channel #22

Simryn Gill, Channel #22  2014

These photographs show evidence of sea pollution in a small mangrove forest in Port Dickson, Malaysia, Gill’s hometown. Colourful plastic bags and other rubbish have washed up with the tides, getting stuck in branches and roots. In the black and white photographs, it can be hard to distinguish the waste among the plants. The first photo shows large cargo ships in the distance. This suggests the activities of Port Dickson’s commercial harbour are the source of the detritus. More widely, the series raises questions about the consequences of globalisation on the environment.

Gallery label, April 2021

© Simryn Gill

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Channel #17

Simryn Gill, Channel #17  2014

These photographs show evidence of sea pollution in a small mangrove forest in Port Dickson, Malaysia, Gill’s hometown. Colourful plastic bags and other rubbish have washed up with the tides, getting stuck in branches and roots. In the black and white photographs, it can be hard to distinguish the waste among the plants. The first photo shows large cargo ships in the distance. This suggests the activities of Port Dickson’s commercial harbour are the source of the detritus. More widely, the series raises questions about the consequences of globalisation on the environment.

Gallery label, April 2021

© Simryn Gill

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Channel #10

Simryn Gill, Channel #10  2014

These photographs show evidence of sea pollution in a small mangrove forest in Port Dickson, Malaysia, Gill’s hometown. Colourful plastic bags and other rubbish have washed up with the tides, getting stuck in branches and roots. In the black and white photographs, it can be hard to distinguish the waste among the plants. The first photo shows large cargo ships in the distance. This suggests the activities of Port Dickson’s commercial harbour are the source of the detritus. More widely, the series raises questions about the consequences of globalisation on the environment.

Gallery label, April 2021

© Simryn Gill

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Channel #29

Simryn Gill, Channel #29  2014

A coal power station looms over suburban-looking houses and gardens. A leafless tree at the centre of the image might suggest the residents are victims of its pollution. But Epstein includes plastic garden furniture and a car in the composition. These remind us that the house-owners are themselves consumers of its fuel and energy. This photograph is part of a series on US power stations. Epstein, known for his colour photographic work since the 1970s, commented: ‘I wanted to photograph the relationship between American society and the American landscape, and energy was the lynchpin’.

Gallery label, April 2021

© reserved

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Channel #24

Simryn Gill, Channel #24  2014

These photographs show evidence of sea pollution in a small mangrove forest in Port Dickson, Malaysia, Gill’s hometown. Colourful plastic bags and other rubbish have washed up with the tides, getting stuck in branches and roots. In the black and white photographs, it can be hard to distinguish the waste among the plants. The first photo shows large cargo ships in the distance. This suggests the activities of Port Dickson’s commercial harbour are the source of the detritus. More widely, the series raises questions about the consequences of globalisation on the environment.

Gallery label, April 2021

© Simryn Gill

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Channel #5

Simryn Gill, Channel #5  2014

These photographs show evidence of sea pollution in a small mangrove forest in Port Dickson, Malaysia, Gill’s hometown. Colourful plastic bags and other rubbish have washed up with the tides, getting stuck in branches and roots. In the black and white photographs, it can be hard to distinguish the waste among the plants. The first photo shows large cargo ships in the distance. This suggests the activities of Port Dickson’s commercial harbour are the source of the detritus. More widely, the series raises questions about the consequences of globalisation on the environment.

Gallery label, April 2021

© Simryn Gill

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Sean leaning against his truck

Chris Killip, Sean leaning against his truck  1983, printed 2012–13

This is one of a group of ten black and white photographs in Tate’s collection from British photographer Chris Killip’s series Sea Coal, Lynemouth, Northumberland 1983–4 (Tate P81048–P81057 and P81063). The series was shot between 1983 and 1984 in the coastal village of Lynemouth in Northumberland, known for its transient community of so-called ‘sea-coalers’, people who harvested coal washed up on the local beaches from the local coal mines that had once thrived in the area. Killip came across Lynemouth while living in Newcastle in the north-east of England and described how struck he was by the place:

© Chris Killip

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Brian and unidentified man in the water

Chris Killip, Brian and unidentified man in the water  1984, printed 2012–13

Killip spent long periods of time with the communities he photographed, building close relationships with his subjects. He spent six years waiting for the sea-coalers to give permission before he started portraying the people collecting coal on the beach at Lynemouth. He began the series in 1982. Between 1983 and 1984 he lived in a caravan on the sea-coal camp and documented their work and daily life. Some photographs depict their labour, others capture more intimate moments of rest and play.

Gallery label, June 2021

© Chris Killip

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The Gold Mine, Brazil

Sebastião Salgado, The Gold Mine, Brazil  1986

The Serra Pelada series focuses on miners and their working environment. The mountain site has been dramatically transformed by heavy mining activities. Here Salgado shows the miners as an integral part of this landscape.
Salgado has documented working conditions across the world throughout his career. Since the 1990s he has also actively contributed to the reforestation and conservation of the Atlantic Forest in Brazil.

Gallery label, June 2021

© Sebastião Salgado

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Channel #16

Simryn Gill, Channel #16  2014

These photographs show evidence of sea pollution in a small mangrove forest in Port Dickson, Malaysia, Gill’s hometown. Colourful plastic bags and other rubbish have washed up with the tides, getting stuck in branches and roots. In the black and white photographs, it can be hard to distinguish the waste among the plants. The first photo shows large cargo ships in the distance. This suggests the activities of Port Dickson’s commercial harbour are the source of the detritus. More widely, the series raises questions about the consequences of globalisation on the environment.

Gallery label, April 2021

© Simryn Gill

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Art in this room

Alison, Brian and Claire on the beach
Chris Killip Alison, Brian and Claire on the beach 1983, printed 2012–13
Boo and his rabbit
Chris Killip Boo and his rabbit 1984, printed 2012–13
Undersized, Stunted-in-Growth and Rotting Melons Dumped in the Veld Outside Kroonstad, Free State
Santu Mofokeng Undersized, Stunted-in-Growth and Rotting Melons Dumped in the Veld Outside Kroonstad, Free State 2007, printed 2011
Channel #7
Simryn Gill Channel #7 2014
Channel #26
Simryn Gill Channel #26 2014
Channel #12
Simryn Gill Channel #12 2014

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