Presumably if you’ve come to this page on my site, you either clicked the wrong button or you want to know a bit about who I am. I’m Chris Zarconi and I’m a documentary photographer living in Washington, DC. Originally I’m from Akron, Ohio and my interest in steel mills and industry comes naturally having grown up in a town now called the “Former Rubber Capitol of the World” where Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company once had huge manufacturing headquarters and now has a lot of unused real estate. My grandfather worked at Truscon Steel in Youngstown, OH for a few months short of 40 years in addition to serving this country in World War II as a Air Force Aviation Navigator. His parents came to this country from Sicily searching for a better life and through a lot of hard work and sacrifice, my grandfather began to pave the way for his sons including my father. I remember, as a young boy, not understanding why my grandfather’s fingernails were so rough and oddly-shaped. He was always a man I loved, but many of the lessons for which he stood in his life have become a part of my interest in this project.
I’m a big lover of people and started this project to try to understand what the people in broken down towns across America were doing since the industries and businesses that built their towns had disappeared. That overly-broad project led me to focus in on the steel industry and explore the deep connection to hard work and the American Dream.
I love physics and understanding how things work. I like to fix things and occasionally build things. Learning about and exploring some of the massive machinery that built this nation and knowing some of the men and women who operated it has been an exciting natural extension of my interest to understand how everything in this world works. While this project has reached a phase of completion, I think it will serve as a subject to which I will return often and for a long time.
Many thanks to the epically talented Sana Ullah for the stellar photo that makes me look as badass as I want to think I am.