“I dedicate this book to my father, Landis Wilson Myers, a true craftsman himself. He was a woodworker, home builder, metalworker, guitar player, printing pressman, baseball player, self-made businessman, and a “fixer” of almost anything. My father loved working with his hands and would have felt a very deep connection to this book.”
~Tadd Landis Myers
Introduction from the book:
Nearly five years ago I set off on a photographic journey to document the American craftsman—an overlooked but defining part of America. At the time, this project was simply a short-term way to pass the time while business was a bit slow due to the struggling economy. There seemed to be little discussion about products that were handcrafted in America, which piqued my curiosity and led me on a search for these fascinating companies and individuals. Little did I know how things would change in just five short years and how quickly this important story would grow.
Our country has seen many years of decline in American manufacturing, yet it is this sector of our economy that built this wonderful nation. Portraits of the American Craftsman is a celebration of the many men and women who still handcraft beautiful products right here in the United States of America. It has been an honor and a pleasure to shine a light on these companies and tell their story—a story that lives on inside the objects they continue to produce, day in and day out.
Throughout my career I’ve always searched for meaningful photographic projects that tell a story. However, none of these projects has ever touched me as personally as this one. I have learned so much from the many companies and individuals featured in these pages. The most valuable lesson was that money is but one sliver of what motivates these craftsmen. They have made many conscious decisions in their lives in order to reach their destination. It is these decisions that afford them many less-tangible benefits, such as being their own bosses, creating their own schedules, and being more in control of their own futures. They have found that this type of work contributes to their quality of life, creates a personal legacy, and provides a sense of accomplishment in a much more fulfilling way. They have also realized that if they put a piece of themselves into what they create, part of it stays in the work and yet another very important part continues to live inside themselves.
This is the very basis of what I have always wanted this project to be about: to challenge and inspire people to reevaluate the role that their work plays in their own life. I know that I have.
Tadd Landis Myers
Special thanks to our Kickstarter.com backers!