THE INVISIBLE ARMIES
By MICHAEL PERKINS
WE LEARN, OVER A LIFETIME, NOT TO SEE THEM. The sweepers, the washers, those who clean up, clear away and reassemble our daily environment. They are hidden in plain sight, these silent crews of keepers and caretakers. They are the reason there are towels in the restrooms, liners in the trash bins, forks on the table. A silent machine of constantly moving gears readies our way in so many unseen ways each days, tended by the invisible armies of our cities.
They start early, finish late, glide by silently, and move on to the next task. Busy as we are, once we first hold a camera, they are stories dying to be revealed, wondered at, worried over.
The unnamed lady at the broom in the above image came into my view just because I had chosen, at a particular moment, to cross the window side of the second floor of a bookstore. Framed naturally between a giant rooftop sign and a tree, she was served up as a ready-made subject for me, and would have been completely unseen had I not visited the store at the very moment it opened.
The invisible armies roll in and out, like some silent tide, and their work is usually done before we crank up our day. Their world and ours can dovetail briefly, but in large part we occupy difference spaces in time. I love catching people in the act of prepping the morning.
The best images are the ones you dig for a bit.
Follow Michael Perkins on Twitter @MPnormaleye.