Tonawanda News — “I tell them, ‘You just worked a double, you’re tired, this is the end of your day,’ and I usually throw in ‘Your wife just called and water’s leaking through the ceiling and you don’t know what to do,’ to get them in the mood,” Pantano said.
Ultimately, he said, the key was to photograph the subjects in the most honest way possible. He didn’t have them wear makeup, change their clothes or do anything else to change how they would normally look after a long, hard day at work.
“Everything here is in the eyes ... they tell the story,” he said.
Also telling the story are placards that will be placed next to each of the photographs giving facts about working in the United States.
“I didn’t want it to become a political statement at all, but I wanted to give statistics,” Pantano said, spouting off facts about the number of vacation, sick and maternity days U.S. workers compared to workers in other countries.
“The basis behind this show is what we do to achieve the American Dream. Most people equate the American Dream to money,” he said.
“I want people to look at the cashier at Tops or the guy greeting you at Walmart and think ‘This guy is trying to achieve the American Dream with whatever he has,’ ” Pantano added.
Pantano’s show, “The American Worker” will be up at Main (St)udios beginning Friday through June 20. The opening reception is 7-10 p.m.IF YOU GO • WHAT: "The American Worker: A Photographic Series by Phil Pantano" • WHEN: Friday through June 20; opening reception 7-10 p.m. Friday • WHERE: Main (St)udios, 515 Main St., Buffalo • COST: Free • MORE INFORMATION: Visit www.greatlook.com or www.mainstudios.com, or call 866-6603.