One of the side projects that inspired Fieldwork

Two things transpired around the same time that sowed the early seeds for Fieldwork a few years ago. One was a realisation that culture pretty much trumped everything when it came to the work my old company were attempting to do in organisations big and small. The other was a need to delve deeply into the working lives of people with my camera and notebook, to try and understand work, labour or whatever name you give it, this was a side project called Beyond Work.

I've been doing quite a bit of work on this project over the past few weeks and it's reminded me of the importance of side projects. I've been transcribing hours of interview material and cleaning dust off lots of negatives and it's given me plenty of time to get really close to the stories, which are at the heart of this work. The insight from these interviews is very deep and offers a glimpse at the work we are trying to do at Fieldwork. That work helps companies understand what they are on a deeply human level before they make any attempt at change, so it's actually meaningful and long lasting.

I've also been working with Stanley James Press, who have designed and made the zines you see in the photographs. I will be making a whole series, but right now Zine One is available, and tells the story of a Refuse Worker in Halifax. I photographed Gavin at 6am, the day after Boxing day after a night of snow and ice. It was one of the most enjoyable assignments I've ever done.

Beyond Work is driven by a simple purpose, to unearth the working lives of people who's jobs are often invisible, and for the stories that come out to inspire us all to make the world of work a respectful, humane and kind place that rewards people with more than money. The more people that see and read these stories, the more impact they will have, so please share or get involved.

Curtis James

Brighton