Since I was a kid, I've been working. From age fourteen to nineteen I was a mason's laborer, carrying bricks and mortar up forty-foot ladders to build chimneys, digging footings. From nineteen to twenty-three I stacked paper in a newspaper plant. From twenty-four to twenty-nine I worked in what was essentially a chemical plant - reeking of burnt oil.
The longer you work these kinds of jobs, the harder it is to see anything else. A way out, a way to improve, a different path. And if you work these kinds of jobs too long, it's almost as if you lose your vision completely. Everything becomes obscured somehow.
At age thirty I knew I needed to use my education to provide a better life for my brand new daughter and family. I quit, and founded a camera culture website and camera shop. I've been doing this every day since.
I found this blurry man in the basement of a Chinatown grocery. He was surrounded by stink, the smell of old fish and bad produce. He wore rubber boots, a rubber shirt, rubber gloves, and a thick, rubber apron. He was mopping the floor, but to me it looked like he was simply dousing the filthy floor with filthier water. A worker. Looking defeated and miserable.
I snuck in and got the shot.
When I first saw this image, it made me recall all the time I'd spent at dead-end jobs. I also noticed, sadly, that this man has no eyes.