Often as photographers we have aspirations for creating and accomplishing a photographic series of some sort. For years, I had dreamed of traveling the entire USA photographing the people of America and the work they do. As a portrait photographer, I was interested in the reality of the American people…not just the poor and downtrodden or the rich and famous. I was frustrated with how other countries viewed us, primarily because they viewed us through the rose colored glasses of Hollywood and the media.
I finally was able to pull all my finances together and get some grants and sponsorships, buy a motorhome and venture out traveling the country for three and a half years capturing a variety of people from all walks of life doing all sorts of jobs. I photographed over 450 different occupations in an environmental portrait style of photography using a medium format camera and film that I could process in my darkroom built in the back of my motorhome.
I quickly learned that those people doing what they loved were the happiest regardless of how poor they were. I also learned that those who hardly had any money for themselves were the first to offer me money for my project. I spent evenings sitting around the dinner tables of strangers who quickly became friends. I was living my dream and my passion.
My resulting book was self published through Bookmasters, a company who has a distribution division that is as good as any well known publisher. My book was in all the major book stores and sold well. I had tried to find an established publisher but most responded with, “we love the book but we just don’t see how we can make enough money off of it”. This was the reality of the publishing world, as sad as that is.
I continue to sell my book even though sales have slowed considerably. Granted, it was published in 2006. But I am happy to say that for some reason, my recent book sales have jumped to the highest level since 2008.