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WebHot: Marketplace’s Middle Class Photo Project




Photo: Celeste Wesson, Los Angeles

On a day when the number of unemployed Americans ticked up to 8.3 percent, it’s worth  checking out an ongoing project of Marketplace. The American Public Radio program has been inviting readers to contribute images and comments they believe capture the essence of what it means to be middle class.

“We spend a lot of time talking about the middle class,” says Marketplace. “What it is, who’s part of it, why it matters. Now it’s time for you to tell us.”

The photos range from retro black-and-whites to current digital snaps, and the contributors run the gamut from retirees to students, from the complacent to Occupiers. The contributors’ comments are often more poignant than the images. One young Virginian submitted a grim watercolor of a man carrying a sign reading, “Out of Confidence.” As the contributor explained:

“I do not consider myself middle class at the moment. I moved in with my parents three months ago, so I can’t put myself in the middle class yet. I look forward to gaining my independence, leaving my parents’ house and joining the real world as an artist as soon as possible.”

Looking over these images, you get the uneasy feeling of viewing an endangered species. Time will tell if it’s simply alarm or an all too accurate premonition.

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