text by Susan Kelleher
now through April 27th in Photoland’s
Women in the Trades showcases the strength, power, and perseverance of Washington State women working in the trades. Traveling throughout the Puget Sound region, Seattle Times photographer Bettina Hansen and writer Susan Kelleher sought to illuminate the stories of the many women working as ironworkers, linemen, heavy-equipment operators, and other trades which historically only employed men.
The series features women from diverse backgrounds who found their trades through many different paths. However, each describes her work as a point of pride – something that provides her with middle class financial stability, but also a sense of purpose and tangible accomplishment.
Through stunningly detailed black and white portraits shot on 4×5 film, Hansen emphasizes the physical intensity of the work, but also the individuality of each woman. Shot at each subject’s job site, the images place each person in the context of her work, giving the viewer a hint into the daily lives of these hardworking women. Each portrait is paired with a vignette written by Kelleher, giving insight into the paths that led each woman to her trade, as well as the challenges of working in a male-dominated field.