Artist, Educator and Fine Art Photographer Vanessa Venable is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography. From her project ‘Class C’. To see Vanessa’s body of work click on any image.
Class C examines the poignant lives of men on the road committed to driving commercial vehicles. The portrait series of these individuals eludes to a larger narrative of lower middle class workers who’s daily tasks play a larger function in our daily lives. By momentarily interrupting their routine, I have created a glimpse into their life on the road. I have attempted to reveal how their careers transcend from a traditional 9-5 job to a way of living. From a stationary perspective, in the common rest hubs of truck stops, I have captured these individual’s migratory routine through environmental portraiture. By creating photographs of this group of people in their transitory environment, I hope to emphasis how the routine of their lives is not static or permanently affixed to the place in which their portraits were made.
The random strangers photographed in this series each offered explanations on why they continue to drive; for many it has become a longstanding lifestyle rather than just a career choice. Each chance encounter and driver I approached is meant to echo the idea of a temporary meeting on a longer journey. I was compelled by the stories of these individuals that I met and have aimed to depict through a documentary environmental portrait approach, the contemporary issues surrounding our consumer culture, and how that very societal habit has affected the individuals tasked with delivering goods from one place to another. Class C drivers are an essential element in our communication and distribution system from produce and livestock, to furniture and retail items. I want to highlight these people under extreme pressure to meet deadlines due to an influx of consumerism.
This series touches on the American lifestyle on the road, and what it means to be a migratory worker in 2017. From my outside stationary perspective I aim to draw attention to a group of people who are becoming obsolete due to recent technological advantages. Currently there are approximately 3.5 million truck drivers in the United States according to the American Trucking Association. Five point six million semi trucks are on the road at any given moment across the United States delivering goods. From my research and encounters I have found that trucking surpasses the idea of traditional occupation. There exists a tight knit community of truck drivers who, although started for different reasons, continued to drive for a collective purpose of income, travel, and pursuit of America.
By Vanessa Venable