London 2001

London 2001

China, 2007, Summer Palace

China, 2007, Summer Palace

Invisible Cleaners

In early 2001 I was invited by a co-worker to visit her family in Manchester, England. This was the first of many trips overseas. At the time, I didn't own a working film camera and digital cameras were becoming more accessible to consumers. Unfortunately, the earliest digital cameras for everyday consumers lacked controls and pixel quality. My memory is a little faint, but I'm certain the camera used for this trip was an Olympus point and shoot. It was during my trip to England that I started documenting street cleaners.

In the picture of the London street cleaner, I stood watching the crowd while my husband figured out the train schedule.  Among the homogeneous crowd, I became aware of a street cleaner. Every time he cleaned a spot on the floor someone created another. His job seemed fruitless. There were thousands of people coming in from the outside. At one point he just stopped and stood. I wondered what he was thinking. I wondered if anyone ever noticed him. An invisible human. This moment began my documentation of the invisible street cleaners in every city I visit.