Scientist and cosmologist Carl Sagan said, “If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us.” Chuck Avery confronts one of the most significant and effective bamboozles in centuries of American history. By making current photographs of sites of conflict between workers and owners, labor and big money, Avery exposes touchpoints from the suppressed, manipulated, and mostly forgotten history of unionism. Refusing to be bamboozled, he says, “These days especially I want to unearth buried truths and question false mythologies. Post-truth can only be fought with facts and information. So here I am, practicing my version of documentary landscape. My cameras might not be the loudest voices, but they have plenty to say.“
Like Native American history, labor history has been relentlessly misrepresented and excluded from textbooks and the political conversation. Its exclusion from the history books is part of a pattern of negating any parts of American history that challenge the capitalist, “free-market” system we live in. Looking at what’s happening around the country – book censorship and bans on the teaching of basic historical facts – and having been raised in a family that benefited from union membership, it didn't take me long to decide to look into the public history of labor. So, you could say that it's kind of personal for me.