The magazine of the photo-essay
Aug 2016 back issue
City of Mines
by Anderson & Low
A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine.  Fabulous! Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film & documentary maker
Victor, Colorado – the City of Mines – came into life in the early 1890s when a prospector who had been unsuccessfully searching for gold for nineteen years finally hit pay dirt. Victor, and the nearby Cripple Creek, became the two key towns in a strip of land just ten miles by six that offered up an extraordinary geological bonanza. People flocked into Victor in search of their fortunes and its population quickly rose to over 18,000. Flourishing businesses served the miners and the hundreds of surrounding mines, and an area which had once been isolated ranching country became totally transformed. The gold and the prospectors are now long gone, but Victor, with its current population of now only 450, still echoes this history in its streets and buildings. Anderson & Low discovered it by chance fifteen years ago, and they were immediately mesmerized by the town’s individuality. With its sense of
being a place outside of time – neither of the present nor of the past – it has drawn them back repeatedly. In their images they weave back-and-forth from expansive landscapes, through to expressive architectural images and intimate interiors. Whilst their subjects are primarily architectural, the human imprint of these historic structures is evident and powerfully conveyed. The result is a disarmingly intimate and moving study of a small American town. As with their previous bodies of work, the visual language employed by Anderson & Low in City of Mines is direct yet eloquent. Their choice of medium and the dominant visual threads reiterate Victor’s “hypnotic” power for the artists. While Anderson & Low have worked effectively in both black-and-white and color, the latter form was an important choice as it communicates necessary moments of human warmth, life, and resilience in an overwhelmingly tough and uncompromising environment. The artists also clearly have an affinity for the proliferation of commercial text in Victor. The text becomes a significant component of our engagement with the images, reminding us of photography’s unique capacity for simultaneous graphic clarity and metaphoric suggestion.
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