Nelson Armour - January 2015

At work/At Home, En el Trabajo/En Casa

Lake County, Illinois, is an excellent place to live. The County boasts of many wealthy suburban communities along with its largest city, Waukegan. Overall, the County is racially and ethnically diverse with a Hispanic/Latino population of over 14%, African American population of almost 7%, and an Asian population of close to 4%.

Yet, depending on your home community, residential diversity is lacking. In many Lake County communities, most of the service workers are minorities, Latinos or African American. For example, in my town of Highland Park, a majority of landscape crews are Latino. Many first generation immigrants have started their own landscape businesses or found employment in these enterprises. Today, many Mexican Americans have pursued the "American Dream" through landscape businesses, either as owners or workers.

The hard work and effort of these small businesspeople and workers are evident in the well-cared lawns and gardens of the area. These workers contribute to the high quality of life in these communities, but rarely live in them; their homes and communities are often separate from many Lake County suburbs. While visible on the job, they are sometimes invisible as individuals.

In At Work/At Home, En el Trabajo/En Casa I highlight these workers. Through formal portraits, I hope to bring out their individuality and hard work. Each portrait is paired with another taken at the person's house or in the community. This pairing of "at work" and "at home" provides recognition of each individual's work and personal life. This work was inspired by Milton Rogovin's series, "Working People."

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