PhotoSummer: Artist's Statement

Shauna Frischkorn


Underpaid food industry workers serve our food, day-in and day-out while wearing conspicuous corporate uniforms, with all the conformity and anonymity associated with their low-status "McJobs." Unattractive and ill fitting, these clothes serve their purpose: to make these workers look low-key and "uniform." My subjects are just kids - strangers that I meet while they are on the job. I invite these workers to my studio to be photographed in their uniforms.

I purposefully create an ironic yet historical dialogue between my subjects and Renaissance portraiture. Historically, the portrait's role was to immortalize the wealthy and important to celebrate the individual. Conversely, my subjects have a difficult time earning a living wage. Transplanted from their work environment, they look vulnerable yet dignified as they peer from behind their visors and into my camera. Although they are dressed like thousands of other workers, if you look close, you can see their nobility.