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  • Writer's pictureKevin Vandivier

Mankind’s Toil Fine Art Photography

Updated: Jul 29, 2019

As Robert Frank so eloquently said, “There is one thing the photograph must contain - the humanity of the moment.”

Frank’s words perfectly describe the purpose of fine art photography that focuses on mankind’s toil.

We all experience struggles of some kind in our lives - from the more mundane type like difficulties at home or struggles at work to the life-changing type, like the birth of your first child or the death of a loved one.

When documented with a camera, these toils can become so much more than a moment captured on film or a digital sensor. Instead, these moments can transcend into something much bigger - a visual chapter in the book of the life of the subject.

In Worn Out, shown above, you don’t need to see this man’s face to understand that he’s lived a very hard life. Instead, his hands tell the tale of being a member of the Watermen - “cowboys” of the water - who spend their entire lives harvesting from the sea, in this case, oysters on Texas’ Gulf Coast.

Kevin Vandivier has traveled the world with his camera for more than 40 years, highlighting how people like the man featured in Worn Out are enduring and surviving here on planet earth.

As Kevin likes to say, “work is a friend.” And in his mankind’s toil fine art images, you see the hard work of mankind.

But hard work doesn’t have to mean hard physical labor. For some, the toil is in finding a higher purpose.

In Prison Peace, shown above, Kevin photographed a young inmate in the Texas prison system being baptized as part of a program implemented by Governor Bush.

This particular prison unit was comprised of volunteer inmates who wished to be taught about Jesus Christ.

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