A unifying theme of my work can be boiled down to, “people who work”. The people in front of my lens tend to do interesting things for a living, and my job often is to show them going about their duties. In the course of a week I might find myself in the cab of a delivery truck, perched on a platform above a factory floor, or scrunched into a corner of a conference room, camera in hand.
ecomaine is a waste management non-profit in Portland that generates power from the stuff the rest of us throw away. I’ve photographed their people for years and I absolutely love working there. As a location, it’s often dirty (they process and burn garbage, remember), the lighting can be an extreme challenge and the environment tends to be either freezing cold or stiflingly hot. But….on the other hand, they have cool smokestacks, pipes, walkways and big pieces of colorful moving machinery. Sign me up!
Recently they had me document and photograph many of their people at work and I wanted to show some of the results of that ongoing project. Produced completely in black and white, the images look timeless and give a human dimension to the industrial facility. Instead of the more intensive scenario-based images I might create in other settings, these are ‘quick-hit’ portraits done in work areas all over the plant and buildings, with minimal lighting. Basically, I have a lot of fun and get a workout at the same time.