This project examines the human stories behind long-haul trucking, an essential component in contemporary U.S. culture and economic structure.
In 2020, I started a portrait series of truck drivers, spending hours each week photographing and talking with individuals, couples and families who drove long-haul trucks for a living. At truck stops and in follow-up phone interviews, they shared the daily realities of road life. Though their jobs are focused on the specifics of geography— getting an item from one point to another — their daily concerns transcend the areas they travel, sometimes rooted in a home thousands of miles away, sometimes focused in the confines of their cab.
These personal stories were also deeply enmeshed in some of the most difficult aspects of the modern American economy. While increasing numbers of Americans rely on truckers to deliver more goods with greater speed, many drivers know automation is on the horizon. In addition to this looming uncertainty, their daily routines and schedules are buffeted by decisions imposed upon them by large freight companies. Both are relevant to the contemporary workforce and portend what we might expect from the future.
These are some of the major themes that affect drivers, though there are others I would like to explore. These include the low percentage of women drivers (< 7%) and the barriers that keep this number down; conflicting state laws (such as marijuana regulation) in an industry that is innately interstate; and infrastructure issues such as lack of truck parking spots to stop for the night.
My work happens where the truckers are; truck stops, warehouses, stores and roadways. The future of this project includes expanding my geographic range of finding subjects. The audiences are two broad groups: the general public who relies on the goods delivered by truckers, and the contemporary workforce wary of displacement from technological and corporate efficiency–the truckers themselves.