“I teamed with AARP The Magazine to profile four workers who test themselves daily in dangerous, demanding jobs. I was drawn by their faces, their on-the-job challenges, and the intimidating environments where they work. Their motivation, I found, involves more than a paycheck. Despite the risks, they love their jobs. They are as gritty and tough as the work they do.” -Andy Anderson
Andy Anderson is forever curious, so exploring the human condition is always top-of-mind. When Jane Clark, Photography Director at AARP, presented him with the opportunity to learn more about and document those who are continuously doing dangerous work, Andy said yes before Jane finished uttering the sentence. Andy chronicled a visual journey of four workers who are over 50 and laboring in extreme jobs. Presented by AARP The Magazine, Dangerous Work illustrates danger, dirt, and achievement in what many of us would never consider as a career, especially in our older years.
The featured jobs and people are not to-be-believed unless you see footage of it with your own eyes. From Timber Cutters, Oil Workers, Bush Pilots to Pile Drivers, we salute these individuals. Here is a small sample of the danger that awaits each of them daily, and Andy was there to capture their trials with his trademark honesty and integrity he brings to making images.
Timber Cutter, Jack Stuart, 59 risks his life daily from surviving a harrowing helicopter crash on his “commute” with co-workers to hiking out for help, to trudging through forests with a shotgun and a chainsaw. He appreciates his health, especially when carrying 100 pounds of equipment on his back.
“I’ve walked where no man has ever stepped foot.” Timber Cutter, Jack Stuart
“You gotta trust the people you work with. If something happens, I wanna know you can help, not leave me there to die.” Oil Worker, Joe Muñez
There are many risks on-the-job as an oil worker, and Joe Muñez, 57, is all too aware of them from his 27 years on the job. From the extreme weather to poisonous gas to falling 50-foot pipes, oil workers know where the danger is, but continue to get the job done with the required brute strength and force.
Bush Pilot, Jim McGrath, 60, flies over breathtaking Alaskan landscapes everyone dreams of on a clear day. However, he does so in a plane built in 1958, that has no instrument flight control, in an area where air traffic control is absent. Weather is unpredictable, so at times he is by himself, landing a plane in inclement weather, unloading 1,000 pounds of supplies by hand, and left to his own devices.
“When you’re flying in this environment, there’s nobody to ask for help.” Bush Pilot, Jim McGrath
“I’ve been doing this work for 25 years. I’m proud. I like who I am.” Pile Driver, Lisa Walker
Pile Driver, Lisa Walker, 51, is one in a million. Being the first woman and first black woman hired for the Port of San Francisco, Lisa is a tower of strength, faith, and determination. Having sustained a potentially life-threatening injury from a crane-hook to the head, Lisa is still meeting the demands of this job, and showing the men how it’s done.
Andy Anderson is living his life committed to the outdoors, so this project was the perfect means for him to make images that reflect the truth as he sees it; rugged, mysterious, and all the time mythical. Follow Andy on Instagram for more evidence of his vision through curiosity.