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Beginning in 2015, The Working Class came to fruition through documenting professional artists presenting as part of Adelaide Fringe. However, this series examines an aspect of performance rarely documented in traditional production photography – the moment the artist exits the stage after a performance. The photographer seeks to present a more candid perspective of performance; his subjects are depicted sweaty and dirty, seeping with exhaustion and raw emotion as they leave the stage.
The Working Class emphasises the extreme, yet often euphoric realities of what it means to be an artist working at the world’s largest arts festivals, the Adelaide and Edinburgh Fringe. The series examines the role of the artist as entrepreneur and key facilitator of a small to medium sized business, often as sole trader, working within the greater economy. Its controversial title references the blue-collar workers of the industrial revolution, whose skilled physical labour was often the only means of generating income.
By re-contextualising the term and applying it to this select group of Fringe artists, this series aims to challenge a commonly held perception of artists as ‘a drain on the economy’, unskilled and non-vital to economic enhancement. By associating them with the working class, this series emphasises their value, and the value of arts and culture within broader Australian society.