A Working Lens

Glenda Drew and Jesse Drew, UC Davis

A WORKING LENS (A.W.L.) is a project of Class Conscious Photographers, a collective of photographers who document the lives of working people, as participants in the broad movement for social, racial and economic justice. The project is a text and photo installation that looks at the contributions made by workers during the coronavirus crisis, who we all depend on to maintain our common social infrastructure during this pandemic. In their voices, presented in text panels and the signs held in protests, people in the photographs speak to the reality of their lives, and the contradiction between calling workers “essential” while they can’t pay rent, afford healthcare or confront injustice. We note that these are conditions that existed before the pandemic, and will likely continue afterwards as well. The participating photographers in the A.W.L. exhibit put these images and voices – of truck drivers, warehouse workers, market vendors, recycle workers, baristas, food servers, subway cleaners, retail workers and other “essential” workers – into this public space to challenge viewers to take some action beyond appreciating the efforts and risks these workers are making. The photographers are (alphabetically) David Bacon, Glenda Drew, Jesse Drew, Najib Joe Hakim and Antonio Nava.

A Working Lens (A.W.L.) was installed in the public space outside the gallery walls at the John Natsoulas Gallery in Davis, CA.