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Photo Essay: Portraits of Americans at Work

Photographer Caleb Ferguson goes cross-country to document the diversity of the American workforce.
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This photo essay was originally published by the Global Oneness Project.

In the summer of 2012, photographer Caleb Ferguson traveled from coast to coast, documenting Americans in their diverse places of work. Here are a few of the people he met.

Name: Cynthia Rhodes
Age: 55
Location: Germantown, New York
Occupation: Hot-dog stand owner (15 years)
"I love my job. I'm outside, listening to music, and waving to people."

Name: Dennis Sigur
Age: 60
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Occupation: Barber (41 years)

Name: Ivete Keller
Age: 68
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Occupation: Hair stylist (40 years)
"If you want to be somebody, you have to work. I love to work."

Name: V. Lamont Duncan
Age: 87
Location: South Cairo, New York
Occupation: Hay farmer (entire life)
"For a young person today it is impossible to get started as a farmer. The overhead costs are too high and there is not enough profit. My advice is to marry a farmer's daughter."

Name: James King
New Orleans, Louisiana
Tire repair (15 years)
James also works as a gospel musician. He works at the tire garage part-time.

Name: John Black Feather
Age: 76
Location: Pine Ridge, South Dakota
Occupation: Buffalo rancher (7 years / retired)
John is retired but wanted to continue his father's legacy of raising buffalo on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Name: Aida Melendez
Age: 60
Location: New York, New York
Occupation: Resident watch at Abraham Lincoln Houses, Harlem (8 months / Retired)

Name: James Walton
Louisville, Kentucky
Skateboard instructor at (1 year)
"I'm not only teaching kids a skill, but I'm also keeping them off the streets and out of trouble."

Name: Nicole Eiden
Age: 35
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Occupation: Baker (1 year)

Name: Greg Fischer
Age: 54
Location: Louisville, Kentucky
Occupation: Mayor (2 years )
Mayor Fischer speaks with students at Valley Traditional High School about the value of a college education as part of the county's "Close the Deal" program.

Name: Steven King
Age: 53
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Occupation: Homeless (15 years)
Steven lives under the I-10 highway. He earns several dollars each day by collecting cans and panhandling.

Name: Susan Hoff
Age: 28
Location: San Francisco, California
Occupation: Bag designer (3 years)
After graduating from art school, Susan became a sailing instructor in Maine. One day she just put two and two together and decided to create handmade bags out of reclaimed sail material.

Name: Walt Boeks
Age: 70
Location: Athens, New York
Occupation: Mechanic (45 years)

Name: Tiffany Cocco
Age: 25
Location: New York, New York
Occupation: Volunteer youth homeless advocate (2 years)

Name: Roby Cottier
Age: 32
Location: Martin, South Dakota
Occupation: Carpenter and production manager (3 months)

Name: Debbie Clickman
Age: 53
Location: Catskill, New York
Occupation: Volunteer Chef at Camp Grace Soup Kitchen (6 months)
"I find it rewarding to help people. Sixty-five percent of the population in Greene County, New York, receives government assistance."

Name: Charlie Guzman
Age: 28
Location: Oakland, California
Occupation: Truck driver (7 years)
"When college became too expensive I stopped going and followed in my dad's footsteps. Now I drive during the day and go to college at night."

Name: Gudmar Petursson
Age: 33
Location: Louisville, Kentucky
Occupation: Trainer of Icelandic horses (19 years)
"I've been riding horses since I was six years old. Someone once told me to get a job you really like and you never have to go to work again."

Name: David Kraft
Age: 42
Location: Louisville, Kentucky
Occupation: Florist (37 years)
"The business has been in the family for 162 years and I started at such a young age because we didn't have babysitters. So we worked. Since going into business with my brothers, we've all become best friends."

Name: Dylan Stander
Age: 9
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Occupation: Fisherman
According to Dylan's family, every year since the BP Oil spill, there have been less fish, poorer quality catches, and profits have been going down. Locals are worried about the future of the industry and whether it will be profitable.

Name: Sam Oh
Age: 65
Location: San Francisco, California
Occupation: Cobbler (30 years)

Name: Brett Walker
Age: 30
Location: San Francisco, California
Occupation: Barista (12 years)
"I was 18 and needed a job. I've been doing coffee ever since."

Name: Antonio Fernandez
Age: 48
Location: New York, New York
Occupation: Musician (40 years)

Caleb Ferguson is a freelance photographer working in New York City. His work has appeared in The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Herald Tribune, the Village Voice, and Newsday. Find him on the web at

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