FILTER PHOTO FESTIVAL 2015: Portfolio Review Round-Up / Nelson W. Armour

Photographs © Nelson W. Armour 

Photographs © Nelson W. Armour 

I met Nelson W. Armour and reviewed his work, "At Work / At Home, En el Trabajo / En Casa" for the 7th Annual Filter Photo Festival Portfolio Review in Chicago. I was impressed with his  "American Dream” portrait series of Mexican American landscape worker's at work and then at home with their families. Check out his statement about his work below. While at Filter, I reviewed over 60 photographers portfolio’s and/or book projects. I'll try to post as many as possible over the next month or so.... 

Lake County, Illinois, is an excellent place to live. The County boasts of many wealthy suburban communities along with its largest city, Waukegan. Overall, the County is racially and ethnically diverse with a Hispanic/Latino population of over 14%, African American population of almost 7%, and an Asian population of close to 4%.

Yet, depending on your home community, residential diversity is lacking.  In many Lake County communities, most of the service workers are minorities, Latinos or African American. For example, in my town of Highland Park, a majority of landscape crews are Latino.  Many first generation immigrants have started their own landscape businesses or found employment in these enterprises.  Today, many Mexican Americans have pursued the "American Dream" through landscape businesses, either as owners or workers. 

The hard work and effort of these small business people and workers are evident in the well-cared lawns and gardens of the area. These workers contribute to the high quality of life in these communities, but rarely live in them; their homes and communities are often separate from many Lake County suburbs. While visible on the job, they are some times invisible as individuals.

In At Work / At Home, En el Trabajo / En Casa I highlight these workers. Through formal portraits, I hope to bring out their individuality and hard work. Some portraits are paired with another taken in the person's home or community.  This pairing of "at work" and "at home" provides recognition of each individual’s work and personal life.

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