The story wasn’t hyped at the top of CBS Sunday Morning today. It just innocently cropped up, but it was the most interesting story of the morning. Martha Teichner profiled artist Mary Whyte who has been capturing a way of life that isn’t easy to find these days. The images sound pretty simple–a man changing the marquee at his drive-in theater, a funeral band playing down a Miami street, a beekeeper in a smoke filled environment, a shoeshine man, a team that cleans industrial ovens, a crabber. None of these are examples are what come to mind when you think of the 21st Century worker. Whyte captures them all with amazing detail and powerful emotion.
The Beekeeper’s Daughter (left) is beautiful, and rather dreamy with all the smoke. It’s a peek at the life of three generations of family that work to raise food and bees. 15-Minute Break captured the oven cleaners, weary and dirty from their physical work. It was the most moving of the images shown during the story (and unfortunately I can’t find it online anywhere to be able to show it).
Whyte’s worked the past three and one-half years working on this project. In Spring 2011 there’ll be an exhibit at the Greenville County Museum of Art in Greenville, S.C. as well as a book chronicling the project. I doubt I’ll make it to Greenville, but I am looking forward to the book since these works are very much in keeping with the kind of art that I like. I imagine the book will be a look into a different time, before all the technology and huge conglomerates. Something more akin to the way my grandfather lived during his lifetime on an assembly line when work was more physical than sedentary.
You can check out this morning’s story–“Preserving on Canvas a Vanishing Way of Life“–on the CBS Sunday Morning website. Two places I found where you can see more of Whyte’s work are Coleman Fine Art, a gallery in Charleston, S.C., and on her pages at AskArt.com.