Assignment: People At Work

January 23, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

A quick summary of our first assignment: "Photograph three people at work, that you don't know." …using 1 camera, 1 lens (35 or 50mm), all manual settings, manual focus, black and white, ISO400, ~100 shots, upload every photo, no edits.

The edits of each (about 7 shots per job) can be viewed HERE. For the full set of images, unedited, look for the highlight below. 

The possibilities are endless for such an assignment here in Dar es Salaam yet, there was one job that I've driven by every day and knew I wanted to learn more and possibly even photograph. This was the work of the women who pound huge rocks in to gravel for construction. 

Zainabu Ally's job is to pound gravel from large stone into usable gravel for construction. Photo by Peter Stanley, 2014.

It is what we equate prisoners doing in most parts of the world, yet there are about 20 women working this job tirelessly on a quiet dirt road not far from my home. I felt very humble asking to these women to photograph them at work yet my decent knowledge of Swahili really helped. It also helped that I agreed to buy several buckets of freshly pounded stones for a "heavily inflated" price (a bucket usually sells for 60 US cents). Zainabu Ally, the gravel maker, let me photograph her, with her youngest of 5 children, working away. I later returned with 4 prints for her which she definitely enjoyed seeing. 

I also photographed a bajaj driver, Niko Simon

Bajaj's drive in opposite directions in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Photo by Peter Stanley, 2014.

This was a challenge because I wanted to make most of the pictures while we were driving around to really show his experience. 

The third person I photographed was Raphael, the shop manager.

Raphael relaxing in the comfort of his small shop in Dar es Salaam. Photo by Peter Stanley, 2014.

I have bought things from him for years yet have never spent time talking to him let alone making photographs in and around his shop. I don't know what I was expecting but I was surprised that he was so relaxed and invited me to shoot an hour of him at work. In terms of lighting, this shoot was my favorite for black and white with the hard contrasts. 

In the end, technically speaking I think I could do a lot more with the bajaj and gravel maker im

ages. I would definitely like to keep working with the gravel 'mamas' and build this project. The lighting in the duka/shop was outstanding (for my taste) and I'll be sure to remember that for another day. 

Next time… "Street Photography"


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