From the File: Janitor

One ledger-size manila file with eight photographs is simply labeled Janitor. These images continue my investigations with the City of Newark, NJ Municipal Archive.

I’ve been volunteering in the archive to help the city preserve its photographic records where there are approximately a two-dozen boxes packed with files, some labeled with peoples names, places and government programs, while other folders are untitled. Some of these individuals are recognizable in the City and States history, such as past political figures, while others are not. The Janitor photographs strike me as instructional, to show individuals how to perform work tasks in particular sequences; sweeping, emptying garbage, mopping, cleaning the mop and wiping surfaces. While my large-scale photographs were hanging on exhibit apparently the fiancé of the “janitor” recognized him and later he came to see them. While we’ve never met the story relayed is that his friend made the images in 1977. Perhaps a long-time Newark resident I’ve been trying to find this man because his story has found itself embedded within the history of the city.