>>>”Photos Taken While Working” (working title)

Film Photo Awards 2021 proposal text:

I am seeking support for an ongoing project with the working title, “Photos Taken While Working”. The project is simple and contained within the working title. I am going out of my way to take photographs during hours I am working and being paid by my employer. Finding myself and my peers conversations dominated by workplace politics and injustices at the use of our time, these themes feel like a domineering force in my life. Understanding we have more worth but not having the means or position to be recognized for it, “Photos Taken While Working” empowers my position as an hourly employee. Being conscience of my surroundings and still observing the natural world, keeping my mind and body separate from my labor. I don’t aim to draw attention to working situations or draw attention to the worker. Instead I seek to apply a simple concept someone could imagine reclaiming even a moment from their day to separate themselves from their tasks to create and record the world. “Photos Taken While Working” exists in the world of Mark Fishers proposed capitalist realism, seeking to find moments everyday in which one can imagine a world outside of capitalist structures and free themselves from them. This project relies on the compact nature afforded by 35mm point and shoot cameras, cheap and readily available. A camera that can be stashed in a lunch bag and taken on work sites, truck cabs, or high-rise apartments. Film is a choice in this circumstance as to solidify the act of physical creation that comes from recorded light on emulsion. Concrete proof that time was taken during a day and time my calendar says I am working. I have thought about how this project becomes fully realized. I think I need to continue to shoot, and use that pool to decide how the work is best shared with others. Currently they are being shared via bi-weekly newsletter with those who choose to follow. But I think they will eventually take physical form either as prints or an edition of books. Being able to assign funds away from film and development costs towards printing instead would be a huge step in this direction. I believe we in the United States are going through a major moment for labor movements, with strikes from the likes of John Deere, Kelloggs, and IATSE. People are talking about labor shortages, and employers refusal to increase starting rates. I know I’ve felt the shift at my own job, asking more of us as they fail to find new employees at their traditional offerings. So while they are asking more of us, I am proposing to take photos while you work.