Hard at work: Alabama blue-collar workers in photographs

Photo provided by Lorna Fischer

Every job is different and unless you have been in this profession you may not realize the challenges involved. My page, Alabama at Work, is a tribute to the hard working people of this state.

A team of Alabama men, all leaning on a pole that will soon be installed in the ground, enjoying the last minutes of conversation before the hard work begins. A few miles down the road, I spotted a farmer planting in neat rows, then a friendly lady holding a road construction stop sign. An idea began to form that these jobs needed to be photographed. As they say, there is beauty in everyday life. The more I drove, the more I noticed people at work, all dealing with their day and what lay ahead.

Later that day I approached a gas station employee and asked if I could photograph him for a project I was working on and he said, “But I’m wearing old work clothes,” and I replied, “Exactly!

Since then, I have photographed dozens of workers and talked to them about all the challenges they face. A few people declined to participate, but most are happy that someone is interested in what they do and are happy to contribute to Alabama at Work.

I have always been impressed by the gentle humor and friendly nature of the people of Alabama since I arrived here 32 years ago. I felt so welcomed and this photo project reinforced that feeling. I am so happy to live in “Sweet Home Alabama” where people are committed to providing for their families and remaining dedicated. I feel blessed to record the various occupations found here and experience a small part of their day. Keep your head up and keep moving forward in Alabama!

Elizabeth J. Harless