This was in Appalachia and the conditions there were extremely bad. You just had to look at some of these individuals, especially the children. There weren't many miners in those particular areas-the big mines had closed up. If we saw a group perhaps sitting on a porch or the kids wandering around, I would ask them if I could take their picture.
Over a period of nine years, Milton Rogovin and his wife Anne traveled to Appalachia each summer for working vacations. They visited and documented mining towns and communities. During the 1960s, Appalachia became the focus of international attention for its economic difficulties and the efforts of Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson to bring relief. Simultaneously, information came to light about the mines' working conditions, from underground fires and explosions to black-lung disease. The Rogovins were well aware of these issues and decided to investigate for themselves.
It is easy to notice what is most important to this home's occupants. A few possessions are lovingly arranged: twin frames with portraits of Jesus and Mary, a child's drawing of a bunny, a hinged frame with a woman's portrait and a picture of Jesus. On the table sit a white crocheted tablecloth, a can of tobacco, a Bible, and a record player. A little boy-presumably the son of a former coal miner-sits gazing at the camera with a wistful and wary stare.