Andrew, assistant for Baseline Surveying. Nikon FE2, TriX 400 Film. Portland, OR.
Andrew came across as one really good person. We met shortly before I snapped this street portrait of him, working as a surveyor assistant in NW Portland.
He found my old Nikon FE2 camera fascinating. I was delighted by his surveying equipment. There are many different photographies, a lot of ways to use light to make a picture. So, in a way, we were two comrades in photography outside working for the day.
Andrew is new in town. He moved to PDX from Austin, TX. He likes it a lot better here. The pace suits him and he thinks people are friendlier. Interestingly, he had no problem finding a job.
“There are A LOT of jobs here (in comparison to Austin),” said Andrew. “The south is just getting too damn hard to find work.”
Contextually, his statement was a curiosity to me. We hear a lot about how Oregon is allegedly a bad place for business and jobs.
In PDX, so many people relocate here for either a tech job in the Silicon Forest or to pursue something creative. The pickings for the creatives is often slim. Portland is a tough job market, in some respects, particularly for professional endeavors. Like most everywhere, we do have an underemployment and homeless problem.
Gentrification is also an issue in Portland. Andrew surveying – presumably for an architecture firm – in NW Portland, a place he unlikely can afford to live in, was irony not lost on me.
But, Andrew is right. There are jobs around, if a person is willing to work a trade. It might not pay the most or lead to a swanky downtown apartment. But, for something like surveying, it’s an honest living and for Andrew this is more than okay. I was reminded of honor in labor. It was refreshing to meet someone like him.