The US Mint has three main facilities that produce the coins we use and collect: Denver, Philadelphia and San Francisco. Not surprisingly, working on the ‘floor’ of these factories of money is a loud affair. The machinery is massive, dirty and potentially dangerous but the people who perform the work are a proud testament to long hours on your feet and little in the way of acknowledgement. So as a way to give voice and a firm thank you to these people, a few years ago I was commissioned to shoot portraits for a series of ad campaigns.
Though photography can sometimes feel like a reinvention of the same wheel albeit with a different set of spokes on a road filled with new potholes, the reality is that it is never the same no matter what tools are put to use. These images were shot on film just as I was getting my feet wet in the digital ocean.There remains a remarkable sense of presence, clarity and softness with a film image that only adds to that lovely ‘unknown’ until the film is processed. Perhaps because of that lingering sense of mystery my memory of this shoot relates more to the oppressive noise and the greasy floor and the seeming nonchalance from the employees.
But when I look at these expressions I see nothing but confidence, dignity and a long-term sense of achievement.