As evidenced by the world total of tourist photos of the inside of cathedrals and through the windows of air-conditioned buses, a country’s visitors do not often see or walk the back streets. And as perhaps a similar number of credit card receipts might testify, interactions with cashiers and wait staff are far more common than real contacts with the locals. October’s featured artist, Kip Harris, presents images from his large, international, multi-year study of workers at their jobs. Drawn from his travels for business and pleasure, these are portraits of real people, in their own environments, free of pretense and staging for tourists and tips. Above and beyond his technical skill, and in spite of differences in language and location, Harris has acquired a knack for authentic personal engagement with his “locals” and his “cathedrals” are workshops and storefronts off the beaten path. Quoting from Prufrock, Kip says his subjects, encountered in their own workplaces, do not need “to prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet.” These faces are striking in their honesty, their purpose, and their pride.
"When people are in their own workplaces, they are most at ease with themselves. They do not need 'to prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet.' I try to stand and watch a little before photographing to convey my appreciation for the worker’s skill and engagement. A man’s work is his life and should be respected. It also gives me a chance to have eye contact and that makes all the difference. Where it is not possible to ask permission to shoot, I try to capture what each worker might wish to say about himself."
E-Mail: Kharris130 at me dot com