[click "Play", Susan speaks with Laura Antrim Caskey]
Laura Antrim Caskey is a photojournalist now living in Rock Creek, West Virginia. Rock Creek is also the home of Appalachia Watch, a grassroots nonprofit group Antrim started in 2006 to focus on the environmental costs of mountaintop removal coal mining.
In April 2011, Antrim became one of eight winners of The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights’ 43rd Annual Journalism Award for “Dragline,” a photographic exposé of mountaintop removal coal mining and the campaign to end the practice.
Currently Laura Antrim Caskey is the West Virginia correspondent at Bag News Notes. She is also the poster artist for the 33rd annual Mountainfilm in Telluride. Her image is also on the program for 2011. An exhibition of her work is scheduled to hang at the Telluride Conference Center in Mountain Village, “Appalachia: A Land and People Under Threat.”
Antrim made her first pictures in 1993 on a trip to southwest China. She studied photography at the Maryland Institute, College of Art in Baltimore, Palm Beach Photographic Center in Florida, and the prestigious International Center of Photography in New York City, ultimately earning a masters degree with distinction in photojournalism and documentary photography at the London College of Communication in January 2010.
Antrim Caskey moved to New York in 1998. She worked for The New York Times Magazine for several years before leaving to begin a freelance career in 2002.
In 2003, Antrim was awarded a Pew International Journalism fellowship to study at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. In 2005, she began investigating how the coal industry is destroying the oldest mountain range in the country (and killing off people whose families have lived on the land for 12 decades). Her interest was piqued after meeting Maria Gunnoe at Indypendent, a monthly newspaper Antrim joined around the time of the Republican National Convention in New York in 2004.
(Maria Gunnoe is a lifelong resident of the coal country of West Virginia. She has been fighting mountaintop removal since the challenge wound up in her own backyard– literally. Maria won the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2009 and is scheduled to speak at the Moving Mountains Symposium on the theme of Awareness into Action at High Camp in Mountain Village. Her topic is “Energy,” which she embodies – literally.)
To learn more about Antrim and her work, click the “play” button and listen to her interview.