This time last year, I was engulfed by the Polar Vortex in Chicago, but this year I am in the Boston area for its record snowfall. The region has received nearly 8 feet (2.4 meters) of snow in the last few weeks, and additional precipitation is forecast. Unfortunately, the area’s public transportation infrastructure is woefully underprepared for the deluge, and many municipalities don’t know where to put all of the snow; Boston has even considered dumping it in the harbor. Even so, the accumulation makes for a fresh landscape and is especially peaceful on Cambridge’s side streets at night.
Even more than 2013, I spent 2014 working on projects, including the films Almost There and The Area, and photography series about subsidized housing in New York City and Japan’s Tōhoku region. When not working on those projects, I continued to travel through the United States, often to work on my ongoing collaboration with Michael Carriere at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. Below, I have included sample photographs from those projects, alongside supplementary images I made in many of the cities I visited throughout the year. As always, you can click through most of the photographs to view them on flickr, alongside many other everyday images.
In 2013, I produced a body of work as Environmental Cinematographer for the ITVS/Kartemquin Films project Almost There. After a year of post-production work, the film made its world premiere at DOCNYC in November. It has since screened at ArcLight Hollywood, and its Chicago premiere will be on January 10, 2015 at the Gene Siskel Film Center. Watch for it on PBS later this year.
I continue to busily work on The Area, alongside editors Brian Ashby and Peter Galassi from Scrappers Film Group. Thanks to the support from the Graham Foundation, the Driehaus Foundation, and the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, we produced more than three hours of edited footage last summer and are preparing for another round of editing early in 2015. Still, I am not done with the project and expect to be filming into 2015. If you are interested in reading about the project, I continue to write a column addressing some of the pertinent issues for BAG News. My next piece will be published in the next few weeks, although you can always check in at the film’s website for updates.
The Subsidized Housing of New York City, New York
This fall I worked on a documentary photography project about subsidized housing in New York that included everything from historic cooperative developments to the public housing projects of the New York City Housing Authority. I will provide more details about that series when it is published as part of a book project next year. In the meantime, I’ve included two images below.
At the beginning of 2014 I flew to Japan for an exhibition of the Isolated Building Studies at Gallery Tanto Tempo, which led to the publication of Isolated Building Studies by UTAKATADO Publishing. Following my time in Kobe, I visited other cities before heading into Tōhoku, the Japanese region critically affected by the March 11, 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent nuclear disaster. Several photographs from the visit are below, and I wrote a lengthy summary of the experience last January.
OTHER UNITED STATES CITIES
Bay Area, California
Buffalo, New York
In 2013, I created a small project about Buffalo’s telescope houses, and I continued to work on the project in 2014. The following set of night photographs is a sample of the material I made to extend the earlier work.
While I have been mainly using my time in Cambridge to write, I have been working on a small project about the neighborhood of Cambridgeport.
In addition to working on The Area and a set of photographs from this year’s polar vortex, I continue to work on a broad body of work about Chicago, from general views of daily urban life to documenting specific events like the Luftwerk/Mas Context installation at Marina City.
I am working on a typology of post-war residential buildings in the Cleveland area.
Although I have slowed working on my seven-year project about the Detroit, Michigan area, I still made a few trips to the city.
Los Angeles, California
New York City, New York
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and its River Towns
I was happy to have enough time in the Pittsburgh area to produce a small project along the Monongahela and Ohio Rivers.
Providence, Rhode Island
St. Louis, Missouri
I was only in St. Louis for a couple of days, but I was excited to be able to snap this aerial image of Granite City, Illinois.
The most challenging portion of my trip to Japan was the time in Tōhoku’s recovering disaster areas, but I spent the majority of my visit in urban Japan. The first half of my trip was structured around Kobe, where I was exhibiting my Isolated Building Studies, and Tokyo served as the base for the second half of the excursion. Whether in Kobe, Tokyo or Sendai, I was excited to have the opportunity to experience Japan’s distinctive urban character alongside some of the most idealistic examples of mid-century architecture — and some of the boldest contemporary styles. The following photographs feature the most typical and atypical locations.
Representative buildings in the Yaesu and Akihabara districts of Tokyo
Aoyama Kitamachi Danchi, a social housing development on the edge of Tokyo’s Omotesando commercial district
[Special thanks go to Luis Mendo, who walked me through this district.]
I recently spent a few days in Dallas, Texas and a half day in Tushka, Oklahoma, which is steadily rebuilding after being struck by a tornado in April. The tornado clean up provided a clear focus to my southern Oklahoma images, while my Dallas images were primarily trained on its near southern and western sides of the city. A selection of my images from the region is below.