LIFE HAS COME FULL CIRCLE
Editorial by Isabell Fooks
The Valley Times
January 28, 2003
Twenty years ago a young man come knocking on my grandfather's door.
He said that he was putting together a book on coal miners and that he wanted to interview my grandad because he was a former coal miner.
I remember my grandad sitting down with him at the kitchen table and telling him about working at the Atlas Coal Mine in East Coulee.
Later, the man asked to take a picture of my grandad in front of the old shed.
My granddad agreed, but only if he could have myself and my brother - his two grandkids - in the picture with him.
I was 11 years old at the time and still remember the old box style camera of
His name was Lawrence Chrismas.
Now, 20 years later, I was the one taking Chrismas's picture at the Luscar Sheerness Mine near Hanna yesterday.
Chrismas was being interviewed by Wayne Rostad of the popular CBC TV show "On The Road Again" and I had a chance to interview him as well.
Chrismas's enthusiasm for coal mining has now spanned three decades.
As a former geologist, he has travelled all across Canada photographing miners and their families and capturing their stories.
His latest book is called "Canmore Miners" and has been dedicated specifically to the men who work at the mines near Canmore.
While mining has changed around Drumheller from the underground mines and the back breaking labour to the surface mines such as the one at Sheerness today, the stories of the miners are still much the same. They still enjoy their work and Chrismas is still there capturing their smiles.
Now Rostad will be sharing Chrismas's enthusiasm for coal mining and his respect for the men and women of the industry with millions of viewers across Canada. It truly is remarkable to think that what started out as a hobby has turned into a lifetime career for Lawrence Chrismas.
It's also truly remarkable for me that now I have my own business, too, and have come full circle to take a photo of the man who first inspired me to go into photojournalism.