Photo Exhibit Captures the Middle Class Trap

On display until the end of February in the Social Work Library and through March in the O’Neill Library reading room, the photo exhibit “Trapped in the Middle: The Effect of Income Inequality on the Middle Class in America” illustrates the impact of growing wealth disparities on the people we rarely expect to be struggling: the middle class.

 Photo of a man using measuring tape on ceiling while a woman watches from below. The room is under construction.
Image of a family reconstructing a house in Julian Fisher’s Trapped in the Middle exhibit

The costs of being in the middle class have increased steadily over the past three decades, while incomes have remained essentially flat.

 bar graph with survey results about maintaining living standard compared to 10 years ago, more difficult 85%, less difficult 9%, about the same 4%
Bar graph from Julian Fisher’s Trapped in the Middle exhibit

The middle class juggles the demands of housing, transportation, education, and healthcare, modifying both life and lifestyle to adapt to these new conditions and stresses.

Photo of a busy restaurant kitchen, with a blurred worker in the foreground mixing food in a bowl
The kitchen of a family-owned restaurant in Julian Fisher’s Trapped in the Middle exhibit

Photographer Julian Fisher uses scenes and settings to represent what the middle class is dealing with and the adaptations they make to keep things on an even keel. The pictures are metaphorical, each raising a larger set of issues that confront the 85% of Americans in the broadly defined middle class.

Please drop by the Social Work Library before the end of February and/or the O’Neill Reading Room before the end of March to catch this exhibit before it closes. There is an accompanying display in the O’Neill Library lobby of relevant books from our collection that will be up until the end of February. More graphs and accompanying text help provide context for the photos. If you miss it, you can see an online version of the exhibit on Julian Fisher’s website.