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Job Fair Free Portraits Capture Continued Struggle Of Unemployed

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Of the dozens of lines at the recent job fair inside Philadelphia's Wachovia Center, one of the longest was for free portraits from photographer Michael Albany, the Los Angeles Times reports.

"I don't know anything else I can do for people," said Albany, who held his first free portrait session over the summer in Philadelphia. That one drew about 50 people over an eight-hour period. The job fair Jan. 28 lasted almost five hours, and Albany shot more than 170 portraits -- without taking a break to eat or to fuel his pack-a-day cigarette habit.

Job seekers use the portraits for networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook, as well as to accompany their resume.

But some express frustration that providing a picture with their skill-set will create just one more boundary to finding full-time employment.

"This is my ninth job fair," said Robert, who has been laid off from assembly-line jobs twice since 2007 and says he often encounters age discrimination in interviews. "I get these young honeys looking at me and they say, 'Aren't you ready to retire?' " he said bitterly.

Albany's photography booth provides just a snapshot of the insecurities and struggles the unemployed continue to face as the economy makes a slow upswing. To read the full story, visit the Los Angeles Times.