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Gina Le Vay November 30, 2009

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.

Tunnel Miners, New York 2004

Gina LeVay (b.1978, USA) holds an MFA in Photography and related Media from the School of Visual Arts. LeVay  is based in New York  and works both in the U.S. and abroad, on independent and commissioned projects. Her award-winning work “The Sandhog Project,” was exhibited as a large-scale photo and video installation at New York’s Grand Central Terminal in 2006. LeVay has been a grant recipient of The Andrew Rhodes Fund for Young Artists through The Visual Arts Foundation, and featured as one of PDN’s 30. Gina is an alumnus and current staff member of The Eddie Adams Workshop. Her book “Sandhogs” about the tunnel miners of New York was published this month by Powerhouse Books.

About the Photograph:

“Jim Donovan is a second generation sandhog of 30 years. This portrait was shot in a commercial studio in NYC. I wanted to isolate the workers from the tunnel environment to focus on their individuality and physicality. Jim is surrounded by his oldest friends who also work on his same day shift on City Water Tunnel #3. I asked the hogs to come directly to the studio after the shift without changing or cleaning up and was overwhelmed with the large amount of guys that showed, not to mention their appreciation and focused energy during the formal portrait session. Although most of the sandhog work in my project is shot on medium format camera and film, this studio work was shot with a Leaf digital back. I found the digital capture added another element to the shoot as the sandhogs became more engaged watching it unfold and were excited about contributing ideas of how they or their fellow hogs should be portrayed and captured–generating a more creative collaboration with myself and the sandhogs.”

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