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I began work on the Scranton Photographic Project in March, 2001. Since then I have photographed many people who live and work in the city and have come to know some of them well. They are generally friendly, forthright, people with diverse backgrounds and circumstances. Fortunately, those I photograph typically greet my efforts with interest and grant me unusually open access to their lives, if only for a few moments.
I photograph individuals and groups at work, at home, on the street and at local events. Each photograph I make is in some way a portrait. And in each portrait I try to show something about the person in the picture and his or her relationship to the city. Eventually I hope that the group of pictures will add up to a portrait of the place itself.
The project began as a way to center my attention on a substantial theme. It seemed to me that by tackling a project as large as this there was no chance of running out of subject matter. I soon realized that I was learning a great deal about the people in this city; who they are, what they do and how they live with one another. This understanding has become the point of my pictures.
I live in Montrose, a small town fifty minutes north of Scranton. Traveling that distance for photographs makes the project difficult at times, but the long drive helps to clear my head and enables me to plan the work for that day. The outsider's viewpoint helps me work without preconceptions about the people I meet.
I want to thank those who allow me to make the pictures. The photographs exist because of their generosity. I'm also grateful to Ben Lifson, Lawrence Kanevsky, Donna Doherty, Mayor Chris Doherty, Rodrica Tilley, Zoë Poster and Ken Marquis for their advice, assistance, and moral support.
- Michael Poster - April 5, 2004