What is The Journeyman Project?

The Journeyman Project is the personal odyssey of Troy Paff, photographer and camera man for Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe. He will travel the roads of America to photograph the workers of 21st century America, and with his camera conduct a visual survey of the tradesmen and skilled labor that persevere in today’s Great Recession.

In the five years since Dirty Jobs‘ premiere, its small crew has experienced an unprecedented number of vocations. With nearly 300 jobs and 50 states under their belt, Dirty Jobs has investigated – and celebrated – those occupations which, while often unsavory, keep the country running. A common thread which runs through these occupations is a particular character required to do them. It is a fundamental commitment to do a job and do it well, where glamour takes a back seat to service, and where pride in a job done well is its own reward. It is this sense of character that Troy will explore, shining a light on the individual behind the job, and expressing the personality and the motivations of the worker.

The route Troy takes will be an evolving one directed by the subjects of the project. Some of the subjects Troy knows, or has wanted to meet. While many of the Dirty Jobs alumni will be revisited, referrals from this ‘family’ will further lead him to individuals who exemplify that same through-line of character: the tradesmen and skilled labor who are driven to succeed in spite of the challenges of their vocations and the hardships of the economy, if not because of them.

The Journeyman Project shall be a celebration of the individual, and over time and the course of a growing compendium of subjects, it will express the collective character of the skilled worker in contemporary America. In an environment where ‘The American Dream’ has been outmoded, themes to explore include the trending decline of the trades and the growing demand for skilled workers, the loss of manufacturing and the effect of trade agreements with Asia and Central America, the decline of infrastructure, high unemployment rates, the housing and mortgage crisis, continued war and national security, ecological catastrophes, and just what ‘recovery’ means in the 21st century.

4 Responses to What is The Journeyman Project?

  1. Naz Keynejad says:

    Fantastic blog Troy. Thanks for sharing. Is there any way I can tag it so I get notifications when you update?

    Please let me know when you’re back in So. CA. Would love to see you and catch up.

    Be well my friend.

  2. Nick Sipko says:

    Troy very interresting lots of luck with your project. You are right about the tradesmen are a dying breed.

  3. Jill Jones says:

    I enjoy the blog! La Cumbre is my favorite brewery, it is helping me so much in my transition to Abq from Durango, CO. I have been here for a few months, and it is taking some getting used to. I love love New Mexico, but Abq……ah well it has some great aspects. Like new breweries!

    I have to recommend a tradeswoman up in Durango. Jeffie Morehart is the owner/baker at Bread Bakery. She works so hard, it is a great community establishment, and she totally carries the place. I encourage you to seek out female trade workers. Thank you so much!

    Jill Jones

  4. Randy Bynum says:

    What a fine project. A worthy mission, with heart. Excellent articles, from one writer and long-time professionally curious communicator to another. My father, a WWII survivor, was a true craftsman, a master woodworker and contractor whose skills with cabinets and construction I unfortunately barely inherited but have worshipped all my life. Your work reminds me of my dad—and that is high praise indeed if you knew his character. My path wound towards wordworking, not woodworking, and music-making, not miter boxes. I really appreciate your project.
    I ran across this blog while researching my own La Cara espresso machine, inherited from a wonderful, deceased San Franciscan friend who purchased it from Christopher’s father. I will undoubtedly need help, via Christopher Cara, or your sage wisdom and o-ring advice as I begin restoring my beautiful chrome La Cara. Nice story. I read it out loud to my wife and as we are both theatre folks (she too had once played Broadway before landing on the West coast) she found it heartfelt and charming. Bravo. Randy, Portland OR, 2014

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