In relation to this painting, Fredrick Jameson suggested that through the work of art, reality is drawn into a revelation which is unavailable in the everyday world. The 'audience' (in the context of the time of the painting) is brought into contact with the everyday world of the worker. This exchange relationship opens the object of work to an extraordinary freedom - artist and audience can separately, privately and individually meet and identify with the significance of the object, in a society where this identification woud be otherwise unavailable (Jameson, 1991).
The image also takes note of a famous Walker Evans image from the American depression in the 1930s - 'Floyd Burroughs Shoes', with which Jamesons comments are also apposite. (A copy of Evans' image has been hanging above desk for more that three years. For me its far more than just 'canonical' it represents the valuable essence of the photographic medium).