Wal-Mart

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"There’s absolutely no limit to what plain, ordinary, working people can accomplish if they are given the opportunity and and the encouragement and the incentive to do their best." -Sam Walton, Wal-Mart Founder

In 2012 I found a sleeve of negatives on the floor of a log cabin home in Williamsburg, Kentucky. Upon scanning the negatives, I discovered they were portraits of Wal-Mart employees. Initially, the deteriorated images sparked questions about their origin, the identity of the subjects, and how they arrived at the cabin. Over the course of four years I was able to locate four of the employees by searching newspaper archives, making phone calls and writing letters. These people, Janice, Tina, Chet, and Audrey helped to answer some of my initial questions. The found images were originally taken during the summer of 1986. People, places and companies often have dynamic and complicated relationships which both benefit and harm one another. After interviewing and photographing them, the personal stories they told of themselves and their lives contrasted with the sterile image of their employer, Wal-Mart. Using the negatives as a source, the project sheds light on the time, place, and sociological environment the negatives record. Plain Ordinary Working People is a photographic project which reveals the personal stories that are within large and monolithic companies in an effort to provide context for the original negatives.