Iranian Coal Miners

In the coal mines of northern Iran men with their faces smeared black push rusty metal carts down into the earth in grim scenes that seem to belong to another century.

International sanctions linked to the decade-long dispute over Iran's nuclear program have hindered the import of heavy machinery and modern technology in all sectors, and coal mining is no exception. The decision to privatize the industry 10 years ago has further squeezed workers, who put in long hours in often dangerous conditions and make just $300 a month, little more than minimum wage.



Opening text from Scenes of toil from Iran's coal mines from The Associated Press. 

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Lead Image Caption: In this Wednesday, May 7, 2014 photo, an Iranian coal miner with his face smeared black from coal poses for a photograph at a mine near the city of Zirab 212 kilometers (132 miles) northeast of the capital Tehran, on a mountain in Mazandaran province, Iran. The workers who put in long hours in often dangerous conditions and make just $300 a month, little more than minimum wage. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

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Nat Castañeda is an interdisciplinary visual artist based in Brooklyn, New York. A California native, Castañeda works primarily in video and collage, with an emphasis on tactile intimacy with her materials remaining an important aspect of all her projects. Common issues in Castañeda’s work are the conflating of iconography and pornography, the questioning of traditional gender binaries, and the role of technology within personal narratives. She received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts and has shown at venues such as El Museo del Barrio and Electronic Arts Intermix. In addition to her art practice, Castañeda currently works at The Associated Press where she leads a team that curates AP's online archive of historic and contemporary photojournalism. Castañeda’s photography has appeared in the New York Times,U.S. News & World Report and USA Today.