In his series, ‘Foot Soldiers’, photographer Christopher Griffith highlights the bread and butter of New York City’s shoe shiners. No, I’m not talking about shoe polish, it’s something more valuable: their hands.
Griffith’s photos not only show us the obvious fatigue on each hand, but they also make us appreciate the hardworking men and women of a once flourishing trade in the streets of New York and Chicago. He also laments on the rags they use to ply their services.
‘Different shiners had completely different techniques’, he told the New York Times. ‘There’s water techniques, there’s dry techniques, different textures of the fabric. But all shoe shiners have one thing in common: the rag, the most disposable and yet the most indispensable tool of their trade. A long strip of fabric that gets twisted around fingers and then back over the flat of the hand, the rag works the polish into the deepest cracks, then buffs it till it gleams’.
You can listen to each shoe shiner’s story here.
Via Junk Culture