A review of the After the Coal Dust book by Francesca Melandri

Many people will be aware of the “Letter from the Future” by the acclaimed Italian author, screen-writer and film maker, Francesca Melandri.

She has been kind enough to write a review of our ‘After the Coal Dust’ book.

After the Coal Dust Book Review

It’s been a long time since I wanted to talk to you about the photos of John Gill and Bridget Gill, and the beautiful book they made together, “After the coal dust”

Theirs is street photography but not the one you always see – New York, Barcelona, ​​big cities and cool places. Their gaze is on a small piece of Northern England, the one most devastated by the closure of the mines which for centuries have been its heart, economy and identity. Not that life in the mine is a thing to regret, but these portraits tell what happens to a place, and especially to its inhabitants, when history goes elsewhere without leaving – at least, apparently – nothing in return.

Personally, looking at the photos of John and Bridget, I had the impression that I understood at least a little more the strange social hara-kiri that is Brexit.

If you go to their Facebook page, and look at their photos in sumptuous b / w, you will understand for sure what I mean.

(You can order the book here,
I gave it to a couple of friends and John was very kind and prompt in shipping. On his website there are also the dates of the conferences he holds on zoom – I listened to one, very interesting)

Francesca Melandri

novelist, screenwriter & documentary filmmaker

The review was originally published in Italian.

È parecchio tempo che volevo parlarvi delle foto di John Gill e Bridget Gill , e del bellissimo libro che hanno fatto insieme, “After the coal dust”
La loro è street photography ma non di quella che si vede sempre – New York, Barcelona, grandi città e posti cool. Il loro sguardo è su un piccolo pezzo del’Inghilterra del nord, quella più devastata dalla chiusura delle miniere che per secoli ne sono state il cuore, l’economia e l’ identità. Non che la vita in miniera sia una cosa da rimpiangere, ma questi ritratti raccontano cosa succede a un posto, e soprattutto ai suoi abitanti, quando la Storia se ne va da un’altra parte senza lasciare – almeno, apparentemente – niente in cambio.
Io personalmente guardando le foto di John e Bridget ho avuto l’impressione di capire almeno un pochino di più quello strano harakiri sociale che è la Brexit .
Se andate sulla loro pg Facebook, e guardate le loro foto in sontuoso b/n,, capirete di certo cosa intendo dire.
(Potete ordinate il libro qui,
Io l’ho regalato a un paio di amiche e John è stato gentissimo e sollecito nella spedizione. Sul suo sito ci sono.anche le date delle conferenze che tiene su zoom – ne ho ascoltata una, molto interessante)

2 thoughts on “A review of the After the Coal Dust book by Francesca Melandri”

  1. Richard Tierney

    Another follower Mr Mrs G. I do not know anyone who sees your collection of photographs, to not be suitably impressed. Fabulous body of work. A thought-provoking capture of society in some ways in decline after its heart has been ripped out….slowly.

    1. Thank you, Richard.

      I hope I’m wrong but I feel that this type of photography has passed its heyday. There’s a lot of AI fakery around now, even with street and documentary.

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