‘They’re out on the site of the old Newstead Colliery. They do eat the rabbits they catch – or trade them for beer. Thirty years ago, they would have been miners’
I started my Thanks Maggie project back in 2012. The title is definitely sarcastic. It’s a series of photographs about culture and social life in the former coalfield areas of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, and the evolution of old colliery sites from places of industry to landscapes of leisure. Much photography work about these postindustrial parts of England often focuses on deprivation, and it’s usually from the perspective of a concerned outsider. Thanks Maggie is semi-autobiographical – my dad worked in the pits, as a shaftsman – and I wanted to take photos that were more of a celebration of the people and places I grew up with.
The project looks at different ways that people interact with this landscape. This is one of the first photos I took, of locals hunting rabbits on the site of the old Newstead Colliery. When I was a teenager, hanging out on these former mining sites, you’d see people with air rifles and stay well away from them. They looked intimidating. But I had an “in” with Andy, the guy in the camo cap, and he took me out rabbiting with his mates on a Saturday.
Source: The Guardian
David Severn's best photograph: men hunting rabbits for beer