The story I am telling with my photographs involves the monumental efforts undertaken to complete the largest, most expensive transportation project in American history: Boston's Central Artery/Tunnel Project.
Specifically, from 1983 to 1986, I documented the complete relocation of the MBTA Orange Line. Most of the photographs I made are of places and sites that no longer exist, such as the old Eggleston Station stop. Or, the locations look different, such as South Station. Eventually, I concentrated on the new Back Bay Station at Copley and got to know the whole crew of workers there; I spent nearly two years photographing them, and decided, "When they work, I work".
I was inspired by Louis Hine, the U.S. photographer who took his large view camera to document construction of the Empire State Building, from foundation to pinnacle. Like Hine, I found that the laborers involved in the day-to-day construction of these historic projects are even more impressive than the structures themselves.
Industrious, resourceful, and often brave, thousands of blue-collar tradesmen worked together for 25 years (1982-2007), above and below ground, to transform urban Boston's landscape. They did so wielding an impressive array of skills: ironworkers, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, concrete finishers, welders, surveyors, machine operators, and many more. Our society often looks down upon these individuals as "the little guys", but they are conscientious employees whose knowledge, resilience, and strength are vital to the growth of the city.