The Black Country—an area in the West Midlands, England—gained its name in the mid nineteenth century due to the smoke and black soot from the steel, coal, brick and iron produced in its many factories, forges and foundries. The 30-foot-thick coal seam was also the reasoning behind the name.

In 2013, Bruce Gilden visited the region, where the once thriving heavy industry has now mostly disappeared, and created a series called Black Country Faces, in which he documented ‘the left behind’ and ‘invisible people’ of the area, focusing on close up street portraits of residents of West Bromwich, Dudley and Wolverhampton.

Factory in the Midlands, England, 2014.

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