Christine Hauber is a portrait photographer who for three years traveled the country documenting the working men and women of America. The images that make up Working in the USA is a selection of amazing portraits of craftsman and tradesman that reflect a side of American culture that is slowly disappearing. Her work is an important document of today’s America as well as beautiful photography.
Christine Hauber first picked up a camera at the age of three after having watched her father try his hand at the art. Being in front of the camera during most of her early childhood years enabled her to become comfortable with the apparatus. As an amateur child photographer, she found fancy in the simple subjects in life; the bugs, the trees and her brothers. Although just a hobby photographer until her early 20’s, her artistic ability for capturing the beauty of her surroundings was becoming more and more apparent.
She was urged by her family and friends to focus on photography as a possible career option. But having spent many years in unfulfilling jobs she was afraid that a career in photography would ruin her love of it. Eventually willing to take a gamble, she entered the Colorado Institute of Art in 1993 with the hopes of learning all she could in the two short years of the program. She walked into the school loving the art and she walked out more enthralled than ever. She jumped right into a full-time photographic life, owning a lucrative portrait business for more than five years until the need to do something of deeper value overtook her deepest thoughts. In looking around, she noticed there was an undo amount of media attention given to either the famous or the down trodden. Little coverage was found about the average hard working American. It is that which she chose to capture.
In April of 2001 she drove away from her native state of Colorado in a 29 foot motor home with her dog Gracie and her cat, rightfully named Ansel Adams. She drove out into the vast country in a search to capture workers in each of the fifty states. She found a country of wonderfully helpful people who are hardworking and proud. She has also found that those who are happiest are not those with the most money or material goods, but those with the most freedom to do the type of work they are most passionate about. She also learned that in so many cases those people with the least amount of money are the first to offer the most.
“The journey that led to Working in the USA began with an idea that grew into a dream. The larger and broader the dream grew, the more consumed with it I became. Before I knew it, I was beyond dreaming and into action, moving toward reality. As a small business owner, I’d already made something from nothing and knew I was capable of doing it again. But my fear of the unknown threatened to stop me cold. Unfortunately, my fear of failure was a stronger motivator. I could not imagine having to explain to those who knew me that I gave up the goal because of minor or temporary setbacks. So I pushed ahead, finally reaching my embarkation point. Working in the USA is a result of hundreds of bright days, dark nights and long miles of living a dream. In unknown surroundings with a dog, a cat and a camera, I captured the images of everyday working Americans.” –Christine Hauber