I was in Los Angeles for a couple of days last week to screen The Area at the Urban Affairs Association annual meeting and then prepare for our screening at the Echo Park Film Center. I didn’t have much time to make new work, but I was able to set aside a couple of hours to get out into the city. During that time, I mainly photographed UCLA’s campus, Inglewood, and near LAX. Here are a few favorites.
The beginning of 2019 has been full of photographic and film events, but I’d like to pause and share details from my three exhibitions in Milwaukee, Indianapolis, and Chicago.
The first is my exhibition “Three Communities” at the Tube Factory Artspace in Indianapolis, Indiana. The show explores the relationship between community and place by featuring a new project in Indianapolis alongside my work from Hauts-de-France Mining Basin and The Area. The in-process Indianapolis project explores the south side Bean Creek neighborhood’s longstanding connection to its namesake creek and the way it divides and connects the community.
The second is “Growing Place: A Visual Study of Urban Farming,” my collaboration with Michael Carriere at the Grohmann Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Through new photographs and archival materials, the exhibition explores the development of urban gardening as a practice essential to the city’s growth and identity, and foregrounds the current work of activists like Growing Power’s Will Allen.
The third is my dual show at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, “Chicago Stories: Recent Work by Carlos Javier Ortiz and David Schalliol.” The exhibition pairs my Isolated Building Studies and The Area with Carlos Javier Ortiz‘s outstanding Chicago-based work as a response to Birmingham, Alabama, 1963: Dawoud Bey/Black Star.
We designed some powerful events for each exhibition, including talks with Will Allen, screenings with Deborah Payne, and panel discussions about Chicago’s ongoing experience with segregation.
Installation and event photographs are below.
Tube Factory Artspace in Indianapolis, Indiana
Growing Place: A Visual Study of Urban Farming
The Grohmann Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Chicago Stories: Recent Work by Carlos Javier Ortiz and David Schalliol
Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, Illinois
Still by Scrappers Film Group
After years of steadily developing several long-term projects, 2018 was the year many of them dramatically changed. The Area is out in the world; my Hauts-de-France work is exhibiting; so many other projects are evolving. With those big changes in mind, here’s a recap of my work on major projects in 2018, a few highlights from smaller projects, and a little looking ahead to 2019.
The Area Film
After six years of work, The Area is screening. Since premiering at the Full Frame Film Festival in April and making its Chicago premiere at the Black Harvest Film Festival in August, we’ve been busy screening the film with an amazing set of partners, including the Metropolitan Planning Council, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, the National Public Housing Museum, universities, community organizing groups, and the Gene Siskel Film Center. To learn more about screenings, news, and requesting a screening, visit The Area’s website.
Hauts-de-France Mining Basin and the Resilient Images Residency
Following a preview at Expo Chicago and multiple exhibitions in France in 2017, my Resilient Images work had its full exhibition at the Hyde Park Art Center in 2018. In June, a subset of the project returned to France for exhibition during the national urban planning conference RDV avec la Ville. I made some new work during the June visit, so I’m not quite ready to call the project complete, but I’m pleased with it and where it’s going.
Bean Creek in Indianapolis, Indiana
Over the last few years, I’ve been steadily developing a project in Indianapolis with support from Big Car. I tightened the work in 2018 by emphasizing how the south side neighborhood has evolved with small creek that winds through the community. The first exhibition from that residency will appear at the Tube Factory Art Space next year. The show focuses on the relationship between people and place, and puts the Bean Creek work in dialogue with my projects in The Area and Hauts-de-France. More information about the exhibition is on facebook.
Urban Farming in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
The national placemaking project Michael Carriere and I started back in 2009 is shifting from research to public engagement, with a second exhibition prepared and the book moving towards publication. In January, our exhibition Growing Place: A Visual Study of Urban Farming is opening at the Grohmann Art Museum, which situates Milwaukee’s contemporary urban farming movement in its history, drawing from archival photographs, documents, and contemporary artifacts. I’m especially excited about the programing we’re scheduling, including events with the Walnut Way Conservation Corps, Will Allen, and others. More details forthcoming!
Belfast, Northern Ireland
As I wrote earlier in the year, I made my fourth visit to Belfast, Northern Ireland in July to continue documenting the changing experience of Eleventh Night and The Twelfth. Among the new work I made this year was an aerial sub-project about the aftermath of the bonfires, which helps orient the work away from the specific moment of the events.
Rebuilding in Tōhoku, Japan
Last week I returned from Tōhoku, Japan, where I continued my work on the rebuilding process after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster. I’ll be sharing more photographs in the next few weeks, but here are two favorite rephotography sequences and a building happily back in use in Ishinomaki. The rebuilding process is somehow overwhelmingly fast and slow.
SKETCHES FROM ELSEWHERE
Camden, New Jersey
Chicago, Illinois Region
New Orleans, Louisiana
Paris, France Region
Reykjavik, Iceland Region
Santa Fe, New Mexico
San Diego, California Region
St. Louis, Missouri
The American Sociological Association held its annual meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania this year, and I was excited to return. I spent a lot of time in Philadelphia in the 1990s and early 2000s and was surprised to figure out that the last time I’d been in the city was 2009. Back then, I was just starting to work on The City Creative, so in between presentations I wanted to follow up with the communities surrounding several of the Mural Arts Philadelphia installations. The following photographs are favorites from that group, from a Philadelphia Gas Works gasometer to the view of the skyline from Camden, New Jersey.
Belfast, Northern Ireland’s Troubles are discussed in the past tense. After all, 2018 is the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, and the open war that left more than 3,500 people dead has drawn to a close. But the peace building process is a long one, and commitment to peace is not universal.
Part of my long-running project in the city has been to understand how the peace process is both supported and undermined through place claiming activities, whether for an anti-sectarian youth soccer program or a Loyalist bonfire complete with an effigy of the Pope. Of course, the city’s infamous murals and peace walls demarcate neighborhoods, but so much of the conflict is more ephemeral.
This year I started a new part of the project to explore the duration of these fleeting contributions. After photographing on Eleventh Night, when loyalists burn massive bonfires to commemorate the 17th century battle that ensured the UK’s contemporary hold over Northern Ireland, I returned to the site of the bonfires a couple of days later to photograph what remained.
Below I include several 2018 bonfire images for context and then present selections from my new series. For additional photographs from the project, visit my Belfast, Northern Ireland gallery.
AFTER THE BONFIRES
Rising over the towns of the UNESCO-listed Nord-Pas-de-Calais Mining Basin are terrils, or spoil tips, human-made hills of mining debris more than 450 feet tall. During my recent trip to France to screen The Area and participate in RDV avec la Ville, I expanded my Hauts-de-France Mining Basin series with aerial images that highlight their context. The following images are a few of my favorites.
This May wasn’t my first time in St. Louis, but it was the first time I was able to actually get out into the neighborhoods. This post includes some of my favorite photographs from throughout the city, many of which are from its north side. While St. Louis has had a difficult 70 years, the north side has been particularly devastated by not only the typical story of racism, deindustrialization, and public housing demolitions, but also private developers like Paul McKee and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Numerous groups are fighting back. If you are interested in the history of the neighborhood displaced by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, you check out these interviews.
This mural, which used to read “End Eminent Domain Abuse,” has quite a history.
PAGE AVENUE BEAUTIFICATION PROJECT
Murals by Better Family Life on the side of derelict buildings on Page.
St. Louis has three spectacular water towers from the 19th century, two of which are on the north side, Grand Avenue Water Tower (1871) and Bissel Street Water Tower (1885), and one south, the Compton Hill Water Tower (1898).
Grand Avenue Water Tower
Pet Milk Building (left) and St. Louis Parking Garage (right)
Special thanks to Claire Nowak-Boyd.
In March, I was in New Orleans to participate in the annual Tulane School of Architecture Design Symposium and was happy to have some extra time to make new work. I’ll share images from an ongoing project later, but for now, I’ve included a few other favorites below. At the end is a small set of images from the most surprising moment of the trip: starting the day on a peaceful Magazine Street only to return at night to find it trashed by the Irish Channel Parade.
The Ashton Theater was designed by Ferdinand Rousseve, a prominent educator and civic leader who was Louisiana’s first African American architect. The theater opened in 1927 and closed in 1958.
MAGAZINE STREET AND SURROUNDS AFTER THE IRISH CHANNEL PARADE
After a string of years bouncing around the map, in 2017 I mainly traced the triangle between Minneapolis, Chicago, and France.
I spent most of my time teaching at St. Olaf and wrapping up The Area in Chicago, but I dedicated nearly two months to two different French projects. In January, I continued my “Resilient Images” residency in Hauts-de-France interpreting the character and identity of France’s former mining region. In August, I worked on a cultural heritage project in Paris, Hauts-de-France, and Normandy with Atout France. The next month, I returned to Hauts-de-France for talks, photography, and to open the residency show at the Centre régional de la photographie Hauts-de-France.
Back in the States, I showed a preview of my Resilient Images project at EXPO Chicago with the Hyde Park Art Center and then exhibited photographs from the Chicago Housing Authority’s Plan for Transformation at the Chicago Architecture Biennial and the National Public Housing Museum.
I did make time for a little other travel. I visited New York City twice with The Area to participate in the IFP Filmmaker Labs and briefly visited to southern California and central Indiana. At the end of the year I hopped back to Europe to hail the new year in Scandinavia. A good year.
I’m starting 2018 with the American debut of Hauts-de-France Mining Basin at the Hyde Park Art Center and “Urban Art and the Block: Film Screening of Selections from The Area.” In other projects, my book with Michael Carriere is closing in on a complete draft, and The Area should also be premiering soon — more about that shortly. Check the website or follow me on Twitter or Facebook for updates.
And now a few of my favorite photographs from 2017. Thanks for your interest, and Happy New Year!
See more from Hauts-de-France Mining Basin in my photography section of the website.
Screening scenes from The Area at IFP’s Made in NY Media Center.
Visit The Area‘s website for more information about the film.
Le Havre, France
Read more about Le Havre and Auguste Perret’s St. Joseph’s Church elsewhere on the blog.
New York City, New York
Solana Beach, California
Mixed-use buildings with residential towers overlooking Place Auguste Perret
A modernist city designed by Le Corbusier’s mentor, Auguste Perret, sits on the coast of Normandy. Le Havre’s concrete origins date to September 1944, when the British bombed the German-occupied city’s coastal plain. The assault almost completely destroyed the district and killed more than 5,000 people.
The commercial core of Le Havre in January 1945
(Image source: stitched panorama from the UNESCO Nomination, “Le Havre, the city rebuilt by Auguste Perret.”)
Rather than abandon the port city, the French government began planning for its reconstruction after liberation. From 1945 until 1964, the city’s core was totally reworked by a team assembled by Perret, yielding the singular city seen today. As with many modernist and brutalist developments, Le Havre fell out of favor towards the end of the 20th century before finding admirers in recent years. Perhaps the pinnacle of this recognition is the listing of the urban core as a UNESCO world heritage site in 2005. The designation recognizes the modernist area, with its standouts like Perret’s own Église Saint-Joseph and later structures like Oscar Niemeyer’s spectacular Maison de la Culture.
Now the city celebrates its concrete past and present, but this year it is also commemorating its 500th anniversary with more than a dozen art and architectural works installed as part of “A Summer in Le Havre.”
Earlier this month, I made a two-day visit to the city on behalf of Atout France and used my free time to visit some of the essential buildings of the reconstruction and the anniversary installations. I will publish additional images from the visit later, but these photographs are among my favorites.
Auguste Perret’s Église Saint-Joseph
Auguste Perret’s Église Saint-Joseph interior with Chiharu Shiota’s Accumulation of Power
Looking south down Rue de Paris towards Vincent Ganivet’s Catène de Containers
Vincent Ganivet’s Catène de Containers
Lang and Baumann’s UP#3, La Porte Océane
A resident in her cabana with Karel Martens’ Colors on the Beach
In their cabana with Karel Martens’ Colors on the Beach
Special thanks go to Eric Baudet and Atout France.