South East Coal Company is an unusual, direct film made by Appalachian children under the direction of noted photographer Wendy Ewald, who taught photography and filmmaking in Kentucky from 1976 to 1980. It contains unique footage of miners at work and includes interviews with coalmine employees.
Wendy Ewald is a MacArthur fellow, photographer and educator. For more than 30 years, Ewald has taught photography as a way of self-expression to children and young people around the world, especially those in poor communities. After working with Naskapi and MicMac Native children in Canada for several years, Ewald was sponsored by the Kentucky Arts Commission to teach in Whitesburg, Kentucky. In 1982, on a Fulbright fellowship, Ewald taught in Raquira, Colombia, and then in Gujarat, India. In 1989, Ewald created Literacy Through Photography programs in Houston, Texas and Durham, North Carolina. Ewald is currently senior research associate for documentary studies at the Center for International Studies at Duke University.