Sunday, July 5, 2009

Self-defining/Occupational Triptych Photo Series

Last November I lost my job in Seattle and this spring I moved to the Bay Area to take up another job and see new places. With all this change i posed the question to myself of how i define myself. It's interesting when you try to put a label on yourself. Is your occupation who you are? How do you see yourself and how do others see you?

As a way of documenting professions around us, ways people see themselves and how i see others, i've been embarking on a creative venture to capture people in their occupation/self-defining moments through a series of portrait triptychs.

The first of the series is a Zapotec Weaver. At 84 she has trouble getting around with hip and knee ailments, and as she hobbled around the courtyard with a staff in one hand i offered my arm, which she gladly took to stable herself. But as soon as she was put to the task of preparing wool, crushing dried bugs with a mortar and pestle for dye or making spools of thread, she's eager and able.

Second in the series is a SF Bay Area Edible Landscaper. Sara Hart Weihmann was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest's Portland. After settling in Berkeley/Oakland area she put her MBA thesis idea to the test, three years later she's still at it. Her company, All Edibles has designed, installed and maintained gardens all over the bay. They've even taken steps to implement an educational facet to teach people young and old how to be stewards of the land they occupy.

Part of this triptych series is seeing how people are affected by their jobs and how their jobs affect them. I'm interested in seeing the affects their bodies in particular. It's also looking at how over time some one comes to identify them with a certain occupation. "I'm a mechanic, that's what I do." It seems it's no longer about who that person is or what they do in their free time; it's more about their occupation. How many people actually define themselves by their occupation, how many people are proud enough of what they do to define themselves that way. Is this common in other cultures, are people defined by how they pay their bills all over the world, or is it a product America's consumerist culture?

Coming soon in the triptych series.....

A Writer
A Musician
A Carpenter

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