Out of the Furnace

To Mary and Skinner
Dedicated to Michael Martinka (October 15, 1991 - June 30, 2009)


“Out of the Furnace” is a photographic essay looking at what remains in the Allegheny-Kiski Valley after the slow, inevitable degradation of the glass and steel industry - Grief is visibly apparent in the hills, valleys, and the people who Inhabit them. Even as the landscape took on its new shape, the emotional landscape still bares its scars. 

650,000 Americans were employed at the peak of the steel industry in 1953. Since then, the industry has lost over 500,000 jobs, which devastated the cities that the industry supported. "But that's the thing about hitting rock bottom," writes Bill Toland, of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  "Some towns and city neighborhoods bounced back. Others broke apart on impact." 

This work is just the end of the beginning, a mere scratch at the surface and more importantly an ode to the people who showed me kindness and put their trust in my work. 

Using Format