New Zone Gallery

Visions of work

Two photography shows on opposite sides of the Willamette offer different perspectives on labor

Dan Nelken’s current photo show HeadStrong: The Women Of Rural Uganda wastes little time with pleasantries. Coming off the stairs at Springfield’s Emerald Art Center into the second level foyer, the first photograph hits the viewer like a ton of bricks. Or perhaps “jerrycan of gravel” is a more suitable metaphor. The picture shows 19-year-old Innocent (a pseudonym?). She poses proudly for Nelken with a toddler strapped to her back, holding a sledgehammer across her shoulder, its rounded tip resting just above her child’s forehead. At her feet splay large pieces of quarry rock. Her daily job is to smash them into gravel, for which she will earn $.32 per jerrycan.

A. Innocent (Age 19) And Her Son Michael (Age 14 Months) Have Worked In Quarry For One Year. Breaking Stones To Gravel Size, Filling 10 Jerrycans Of Gravel Per Day At 1,000 Shillings per ($0.32 USD), Dan Nelken