Co-operative businesses are returning workers’ power. These photographers have shown both the beauty and the effort of when Americans get to be their own bosses.
Photoville Festival 2021 Sessions On-demand recordings are made possible thanks to our partner, PhotoWings.
While worker-owned co-operatives make up only a tiny sliver of U.S. businesses, the chaos and privations of the pandemic and its aftermath helped make them newly popular. People are drawn to a model that returns them power. Six photographers from across the country have recorded a range of these co-ops—from a workers co-op comprised of ride-share drivers in New York City, to one that sews sweatshirts in North Carolina.
Joseph Rodriguez was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He began studying photography at the School of Visual Arts and went on to receive an AAS from New York City Technical College. He worked in the graphic arts industry before deciding to pursue photography further. In 1985, he graduated with a degree in photojournalism and documentary from the International Center of Photography in New York. He went on to work for Black Star photo agency, and print and online news organizations like National Geographic, the New York Times Magazine, Mother Jones, Newsweek, New York Magazine, Esquire, Stern, BBC News and New America Media, as well as advertising campaigns for Levi’s, AIG, and Ikea. He has received awards and grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts Artist Fellowship, USC Annenberg Institute for Justice and Journalism, the Open Society Institute Justice Media Fellowship and Katrina Media Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, Mother Jones International Fund for Documentary Photography, the Alicia Patterson Fellowship Fund for Investigative Journalism and the Konstnarsnamden Stipendium. He has been awarded Pictures of the Year by the National Press Photographers Association and the University of Missouri in 1990, 1992, 1996, and 2002. He is the author of Spanish Harlem, part of the American Scene series, by the National Museum of American Art/D.A.P., as well as “East Side Stories: Gang Life in East Los Angeles,” “Juvenile,” “Flesh Life: Sex in Mexico City,” “Still Here: Stories After Katrina,” and “Spanish Harlem: El Barrio in the ’80s” (Powerhouse Books). Recent exhibitions include Aperture Gallery, Galerie Bene Taschen in Cologne, Germany, Reva and David Logan Gallery for Documentary Photography at the Graduate School of Journalism in Berkeley, California, the Bronx Documentary Center in New York, NY, Gulf & Western Gallery in New York, NY, Hardhitta Gallery in Cologne, Germany, Irene Carlson Gallery of Photography at the University of La Verne, California, Third Floor Gallery in Cardiff, Wales, U.K., Institute for Public Knowledge in New York, NY, Moving Walls at the Open Society Institute in New York, NY, and Cultural Memory Matters at 601 Art Space in New York, NY. He has been a visiting artist at Stanford University, the Institute for Diversity in the Arts, California, the University of La Verne, California, Columbia University’s School of Journalism, New York, the University of Texas, Austin’s School of Journalism, Ringling School of Art and Design, Florida, the University of Helsinki, Finland, Aarhus University, Denmark, Royal University of Fine Arts’ School of Architecture, Sweden, Loyola Marymount University, California, Hostos Community College, New York, and the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, New York. He presently teaches at New York University Tisch School of the Arts and the International Center of Photography.
Kranitz was born in Kentucky and currently lives in the Appalachian Mountains of eastern Tennessee. Kranitz is a current Guggenheim Fellow. Her first monograph, “As it Was Give(n) to Me,” will be published by Twin Palms.
Alissa Quart is the executive director of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. She is also the author of five nonfiction books and two works of poetry. The former include the acclaimed “Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America” and “Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers.” Her latest is forthcoming from Ecco/HarperCollins in 2022. Quart contributes journalism to the New York Times, the Guardian, and many other publications. The multimedia, photo, and film collaborations she has written or executive produced include the Emmy-winning documentary “Jackson.”
Mark Murrmann is the photo editor at Mother Jones. As a photographer, he specializes in documentary-style work. His photos have appeared on dozens of record covers, as well as in commercial projects and publications around the world.
Mother Jones is a nonprofit news organization with a bi-monthly magazine that delivers bold and original reporting on the urgent issues of our day, from politics and climate change to education and the food we eat. We investigate stories that are in the public’s interest.
The Economic Hardship Reporting Project (EHRP) produces quality journalism about—and often by—Americans who are experiencing economic injustice. Our nonprofit supports independent journalists and photographers so they can create gripping stories that counter common poor-shaming narratives. We then inject these stories into the mainstream media, mobilizing readers to change systems that perpetuate inequality.