|© Sarina Finkelstein.|
Sarina Finkelstein’s work, The New 49ers, is an investigation of the re-emergence of gold prospectors in California during The Great Recession, while the price of gold is at an all-time high. Photographs from the series are currently on view at Newspace Center for Photography in Portland, OR. She says, “Gold is the underlying theme and is the visual that ties the photos together, but it’s also a metaphor for something valuable we all seek, something for which we are willing to take a risk and gamble everything. What I’m interested in is a group of people living outside the social norm, united by their all-consuming quest [for gold] and the bravery inherent in the personal sacrifices they make in order to pursue it. People who—in a time of desperation—strive to be frugal and self-reliant. They enjoy the simple satisfaction of being able to pull something tangible like a gold flake or nugget from the ground with their own two hands. Every day is an adventure filled with hope and suspense, as each shovelful could become a potential moment of discovery.”
Above: “The Gold Pocket,” Ironstone Vineyards, Murphys, CA. On December 26, 1992, excavators in the Crystalline mine of the Sonora Mining Corporation mine near Jamestown, California uncovered a “pocket” of crystalline leaf gold. This largest piece, the Kautz specimen, weighs in at about 44 pounds of gold. It is the largest single piece of gold mined in North America since the 1880s, the largest specimen of crystallized gold in existence today and is priceless.
Adolf and Martin night prospecting by the Scott River, Klamath National Forest, CA.
Avery digging by the Scott River, Klamath National Forest, CA.
Rob’s gold pan, Klamath National Forest, CA.
Suction dredge on the Scott River after the ban on dredging, Klamath National Forest, CA.
Bernie McGrath, Unofficial Mayor of “Nugget Alley,” Angeles National Forest, CA.
Gold Prospecting Adventures, LLC mining supply store (a family-owned store that has existed for three generations), Jamestown, CA.
Rick at his second camp, Angeles National Forest, CA.
Avery’s gold from Scott River, Klamath National Forest, CA.