Daniel Aum

Carnegie Mellon University

The photographs were taken during the fall season of 2012. I documented diverse characters and their settings in Pittsburgh, a city that has seen historical changes in its culture, appearance and economy. These characters make a living through unique skills that have existed in society for ages. Their timeless trade are not learned through a formal education but through apprenticeship or life experiences. These individuals found in different communities through out Pittsburgh, such as Oakland, Squirrel Hill and Southside, can also be represented in fairy tales because of their timeless profession as a grave keeper, a carpenter, a glass blower, a writer and a matchmaker.

The project documents these characters in a modern light, with different tools and resources of the contemporary period of the present, but still demonstrating that the need for certain skills do not change. In a growing and dynamically changing city, like Pittsburgh, we will always find the need of these characters to do what they are not only passionate about but pass on their skills to the next generation.

While photographing the subjects, they were informally interviewed about their business and occupation as well as the story behind their trade. I shot with a digital camera, Canon 7D, with a fixed lens and used photoshop to make the images black and white. For the diptychs, I arranged the juxtaposed images together.