Seeing the invisible


I'm always fascinated by the people who perform and manage the invisible routines and structures that keep our institutions and organisations alive.  So much goes on that is unseen and often unappreciated in the name of 'Service'....  

And it can be tough, thankless work. 

These liminal, peripheral worlds fascinate me and so I've been trying make pictures of what goes on... I find that I like to honour the work that we can easily miss.

When I first approached C she said, "No pictures, please."

Of course, I deferred but then she said, "It's not that I'm vain or anything like that - it's just that I think good service should be anonymous..." 

We discussed her sense of service and how she likes to respond well when guests want to talk and to stay in the background when they are evidently stressed or need space.  I wanted to know how this might look and so we played...

I photographed C for about half an hour as she went about her work, trying to match her image of anonymity with my sense of invisibility.

We had a great time and as we edited the images discovered connections and lots of common ground.

And in terms of our question, it seemed that this was about right...

Steve Marshall2 Comments