He has been a plasterer for the better part of ten years — the last two years in Spokane. He worked buildings in California before that.
How this photo came about: It was 100° degrees outside. I ducked into an air-conditioned pedestrian walkway that reportedly led to shops and a restaurant. As it happened, the shopping spaces were under construction. Down the corridor I could hear hammers and power saws. The first space I passed was occupied by this man quietly preparing plaster in a cool, darkened room illuminated by a single foot-light and separated from the hall by floor-to-ceiling sheets of plastic. The scene grabbed my attention instantly, but my initial search for the advertised retail space (and the big plastic dividing wall) propelled me forward. Ten feet, at the most. I stepped back to study the scene again. I wasn’t invisible, of course. He looked up. I toyed with my camera bag. I couldn’t resist a photo.
Long story short, he was flattered that I asked to take his picture. He carried his plaster tray and roller to the back of the room and temporarily set them on a mobile platform. (I hadn’t anticipated that, but went with it. I don’t call all the shots. These portraits are collaborations.) He returned to the center of the room and stood proudly in the light. Awesome. I moved to a gap in the plastic to get an unobstructed view. After asking him to sidestep and turn slightly, his spotlight was just right: an artisan on his stage.
(Spokane, August 2014)