There's nothing so infuriating as being told you can't do something because you're a woman — or being told that you can't do something because you're not one. That's where the photo series Women's Work by Chris Crisman comes in: It shows just how absurd it is to limit occupations by gender. "There has been a high volume of conversations recently about the idea of equality in the workplace — some of those have been intellectual, some have been rhetorical, and some have been vitriolic," Crisman tells Bustle over email. But the point of the photo series is this: There's no such thing as "women's work"; there's just work.
"Women's Work" is Crismas' contribution to the larger conversation. The photography series, which began in February and is still ongoing, features women who work in traditionally masculine occupations. The growing list of subjects has ranged from a lobster fisher in Maine to a mill operator in a Nevada gold mine, but they all have one thing in common: They're crushing the expectations our culture places on them because of their gender.
Crisman told photography website A Photo Editor that he was inspired to create the series after learning about a friend of a friend who had recently left her old career to become a butcher. A few weeks later, he was photographing the woman, Heather Marold Thomason, in her shop — and afterward, he knew he was on to something.
Heather Marold Thomason; Butcher and Owner of Primal Supply Meats. Shot in Philadelphia PA.
Crisman has gone on to photograph numerous other women in occupations that are similarly seen as "masculine." Many work in or around Pennsylvania, but he has shot a firefighter in Ohio, a fisher in Maine, and several employees of a Nevada mine as well. One such woman is Jordan Ainsworth, a third generation woman miner at the Round Mountain Gold Mine in Nevada.
Jordan Ainsworth, Mill Operator, Round Mountain Gold Mine, Round Mountain, NV.
Crisman told the Huffington Post that he finds his subjects randomly, often through referrals or personal connections. The project also includes a short, two-minute documentary about Sadie Samuels, a lobster fisher he shot in Maine.
Crisman's studio says they hope to publish the series as a book and triple the number of participants over the course of 2017. As a father of two children, a 2-year-old daughter and a 4-year-old son, however, Crisman has a more personal goal in mind as well. "My hope is that this project is illustrating some of these conversations [about workplace equality] in a positive and impactful way and adding visual evidence to the truth that no job is off limits for women," he tells Bustle.
Christina Burris; Brewer and Operations Manager at St. Benjamin’s Brewing. Shot in Philadelphia, PA.
Alison Goldblum; Property Developer. Shot in Philadelphia, PA.
Nancy Poli, Pig Farmer, Stryker Farms, Saylorsburg, PA.