'Women's Work' Uses Photography to Break Down Professional Gender Boundaries

'Women's Work' Uses Photography to Break Down Professional Gender Boundaries

For "Women's Work", Chris Crisman sought out women in occupations traditionally held by men and shot environmental portraits of them. The results are stunning.

In February of 2016, Crisman was having lunch with a group of producers, when one of them mentioned a friend who was a butcher. That friend, Heather Marold Thomason, immediately intrigued Crisman, as he had never heard of a female butcher. Within a couple of weeks, he shot Thomason's portrait in her shop, and he knew he wanted to continue the project. 

Heather Marold Thomason, butcher

Says Crisman: 

I am a father of two: a four-year-old boy and a two-year-old girl. I was raised to believe that I could do whatever I wanted to when I grew up. I want pass down a similar message to my children and without caveats. I want to raise my children knowing that their dreams have no limits and that they have parents supporting them to dive into anything they feel passionate about.

Crisman mostly found his subjects through word of mouth and through suggestions of his colleagues. ​He notes that the project is ongoing with more portraits to be created. 

Christina Burris, brewer and operations manager

Alison Goldblum, property developer

Nancy Poli, pig farmer

Mira Nakashima, designer and woodworker

Sadie Samuels, lobster fisher

Beth Beverly, taxidermist

Leeann Johnson. haul truck driver

Jordan Ainsworth, mill operator

Carol Warn, leach pad operator

Kris Alvarez, senior geologist

Be sure to check out Crisman's site and follow him on Facebook and Instagram for more! 

All images used with permission of Chris Crisman.

Lead image: Mindy Gabriel, firefighter

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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cool project, awesome picture and now teach us, how you postproducted the last four images :)

I LOVE these!

Nicely done!

While I do admire the images as they are. I don't see the connection of Gender Boundaries. I see women who choose to do a job that men typically chose to do. See we have this thing called choice in America. And we all get to choose what we would like to do for a living. If a man becomes a hair dresser in a salon is he a "visionary" who challenges the norm? I would say not. Depicting women who do so called "non-traditional" work is a disservice to those women. I applaud them for choosing to go out and do what they wanted to do and not what the Media portrays for them. With out the context of the title, that dictates the narrative of the images, all I see is women who are working not the "OH MY, LOOK AT THOSE WOMEN DOING TYPICALLY MALE CENTRIC JOBS!"

Maybe that is because I see differently. Maybe because I don't look for adversity in the world that I live in. Maybe it is because the majority of the women I know work jobs that they want to do, not jobs that others think they should be doing.

While I applaude the creator of these images. Lets just be honest and say "hay, look at these wonderful women enjoying the jobs they choose to do, not because they want to buck some imaginary social construct, but because they wanted to do it.