SAM COMEN PHOTOGRAPHY

 
 

STATEMENT: Walking and driving every day in my native Los Angeles, I look around and see an economically thriving microcosm of multi-racial immigrant America. This is in stark contrast to the menacing vision of immigration in the U.S. coming from the White House. Trump, generous with his praise of working class Americans, is quick to denigrate immigrants who are also of the working class, but happen to be, by and large, non-whites.

This project is a photographic response to that contradictory, xenophobic rhetoric. Immigrants thrive in this country with a variety of skills, but often, given their backstories of marginalization and the demands of survival in a modern society, they gravitate towards the “small trades,” many of them taking on the same jobs that Eugène Atget, August Sander, and Irving Penn documented in their seminal bodies of work.

Through diligence, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit these new Americans seek a chance to better their lives and the lives of their children through the universally acknowledged mandate of rolling up their sleeves and going to work. In homage to Atget’s Parisian portraits, Sander’s “People of the 20th Century,” and Penn’s daylight studio work, I was compelled to document some of the workers who’s grace and grit are on display every day in Los Angeles.

These small trades men and women, all of whom generously agreed to pause their work and be my subjects, are earning their paths forward through their labor and economic contribution. None are asking for a free ride.

 
006_SamComen_Working_0653.jpg

Young Ae Jung | Tailor

001_SamComen_Working_1244.jpg

William Rafael | Shoemaker

SamComen_Working_2121.jpg

Veronica Mateo & Ermelinda Rodriguez | Zipper cutters

SamComen_Working_0294-p2-24x36on30x42.jpg

Jesus Sera | Dishwasher

SamComen_Working_3258.jpg

Antonio Gomez | Ranch Hand

Test Caption Here

Iryna Zabolotwa | Crossfit instructor

SamComen_Working_0918.jpg

Charles Sztanski | Picture framer

014_SamComen_Working_0028.jpg

Erick Rabanales | Vacuum repairman

 

VIDEO PORTRAITS I:


 
002_SamComen_Working_0378.jpg

Carlos Picado, Bryan Guerrero & Nestor Gonzalez

| Carpet washers

005_SamComen_Working_0549.jpg

Gevorg Tevanyan | Shoemaker

003_SamComen_Working_1448.jpg

Concepción Gonzalez | Florist

010_SamComen_Working_0207.jpg

Mario Rosales | Baker

SamComen_Working_2766.jpg

Marco Schmidli | Scenic backdrop painter

SamComen_Working_2329.jpg

Boris Macquiw | Waiter

SamComen_Working_3139.jpg

Camilo Hernandez | Ranch hand

008_SamComen_Working_1599.jpg

Alexander Choi | Outdoor equipment repairman

SamComen_Working_3399.jpg

Lana Brezhnev | Esthetician

 

VIDEO PORTRAITS II:


 
013_SamComen_Working_1916.jpg

Everardo Avelar | Furniture caner

SamComen_Working_2499.jpg

Hamo Ashasian | Cabinet maker

009_SamComen_Working_2016.jpg

Evangelina Mendez | Zipper machine operator

016_SamComen_Working_0358.jpg

Alejandro García | Baker

015_SamComen_Working_1144.jpg

Thomas Parsighian | Shoemaker

SamComen_Working_2610.jpg

Greg Kruegermann | Pickle & sauerkraut maker

004_SamComen_Working_2245.jpg

Rubén Morales | Zipper machine operator

 

VIDEO PORTRAITS III:


 
019_SamComen_Working_1773.jpg

Pascual Olmos | Cane weaver

018_SamComen_Working_2281.jpg

Antonio Murillo | Zipper painter

017_SamComen_Working_0788.jpg

Oscar Dominguez | Locksmith

SamComen_Working_3461.jpg

Filo Sierra | Window washer

011_SamComen_Working_1491.jpg

Miguel Pu Ixcotoyac | Outdoor equipment repairman

SamComen_Working_2985.jpg

Hisham Abahusayn | Set electrician

SamComen_Working_2644.jpg

Chris Capizzi & Jenny Yang | Booksellers