Artisans and their Products
Because of the inherent nature of Consumerism and economies of scale, independent artisans and their products are less viable, and therefore visible, than before.
Now, the trend is to identify what people want and what they buy, then replicate it on a mass scale. Small shops make way for chain stores and the average High Street becomes a generic parade almost indistinguishable from another, despite history or local culture.
This needn’t be seen as a bad thing nor condemned. Prices are generally lower, consumers enjoy better choice, and availibility is good.
But the business necessity to increase profit margins often drives down quality and product eccentricity in favour of the ‘safe’, disposable answer to artificially created demand.
In addition, modern society favours the Jack-of-all-trades at the shallow end of the wage pool, and the spurious specialist at the high-end. Therefore, a camera store employee may just as well work in a chemists, or a barista in a sandwich shop.
Taylorism deconstructed the act of creation into its simplest constituent parts to distribute them to different labourers. This was not just to decrease production time and costs; it devalued the skill of the craftsman such that, non-essential, he could not hold a company to ransom with industrial action.
Globalism is a marvellous thing in many ways. Occasionally I will come across an individual who, through mastery of their field, is able to survive and even thrive. Their products stir a longing for the unique creation of a truly skilled artisan.
When I can, I photograph them and the things that they create. This is partly to help increase their profile; but mainly out of a heartfelt admiration for what they do. I hope that these photographs are able to share this feeling with you.