Mike Lattanzi: Trades [Anonymous]

For my second lot of research I decided to look into more contemporary photographers who photograph people at work. To do this I browsed websites such as Lens Culture where I came across a black and white documentary project called Trades [anonymous], by photographer Mike Lattanzi.

Argentinian photographer Lattanzi set out to create this series in order to show that common occupations in everyday life still require skill, intelligence and mastery that can be achieved through practice. In these close up images showing simply the hands and the activities they are performing, Lattanzi intends to raise awareness of the manual work that we are very dependent on in our society, yet is very devalued in modern culture. I think this use of anonymity is very emotive and communicates how little we acknowledge the physical effort that goes into the production of things we use everyday.

Above is one of my favourite images from the series which shows someone's hands creating candy floss out of a machine. What I love so much about this image is the framing of the basin which sits well in the frame showing us these strands of candy floss going around the whole thing, really capturing the movement in the scene. The angle this image is taken at where we see the sides of the machine rather than directly inside, means our eyes are more drawn to this movement of sugar and the hands of the worker, rather than this serving of candy floss. Making us focus more on how this person interacts with their task which I think is really clever.

The use of anonymity in this series through only showing the hands of workers is really powerful in making us question who the human beings are behind these manual tasks. Which is really what the series wants you ask and have an increased awareness of in our everyday lives. The way Lattanzi captures hands in such a way that they appear delicate and caring of the task, communicates that what they are doing is a craft and is something that requires time and effort in order to master, no matter how much we take these processes for granted in the digital age. 

In terms of my own project work this series has shown me how powerful the detail shot can be in a series of images and also how effective it can be on its own as a singular image. Looking at Lattanzi's Trades [anonymous] has inspired me to consider the framing and movement more in my own images of this nature, and also how much hands can inform what is happening in an photograph and how a person feels about a task in a frozen moment in time, without having to see the subject's face.

Mike Lattanzi Trades [Anonymous]: https://www.lensculture.com/mike-lattanzi?modal=project-200710

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