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All the World is a Museum for Construction Artists

Photographer: Elizabeth O'Brien
Submitter: EIO photo, Somerville, Mass.

An ironworker proudly shows off the work his trade is doing at Trinity Boston luxury condominiums in Boston. The photo is called: "The House that Mat Bulit."

Construction is tough work, but many people love it. They take pride in the fact that what they are helping to create will be around for years—maybe even longer than they will be alive—and serve an important role in their community and nation.

Just like artistic talent, construction skills don't come easily. They can be learned from family and friends, on the job or, more formally, in apprenticeship programs and even technical schools and colleges.

Not everyone who starts down the path to becoming a construction craft worker stays the course. Some people can do the course work, but "just don"t get it" when the time comes to actually work with the tools as a carpenter, electrician, ironworker or sheet metal worker. For others, mastering the technical aspects of today's construction industry proves too difficult. For still others, the work is too hard, dangerous, cold, hot, sporadic or distant to allow them to live what they would consider a normal life.

Those who stay the course are artists in every sense of the word. They take the raw materials of construction—steel, concrete, brick, lumber, wire and pipe—and create masterpieces that the public can enjoy without going to a museum. Conceptualization, adaptation and execution are all part of the job, as well as delivering high-quality work on time and budget. Not all artists have such demands.

Project photographs often are the only way of preserving the record of the crafts at work. Pride of work, love of industry, satisfaction of being part of something larger than life—they all come shining through.