Tagged: Photographs

Birmingham, Alabama and Atlanta, Georgia


Urban Cowboy and Mural

Last week I traveled to Atlanta, Georgia to co-present a paper at an academic conference and spend a little time exploring in the region. I only had parts of three days away from the conference, but thanks to some planning, I was able to accomplish more than I anticipated. The following photographs are some of my favorites, although you can see others on flickr; clicking on any of the below photographs will also take you to flickr for larger versions of the images.

As usual, most of the highlights involved interactions with people doing what they love. The above photograph is of an urban cowboy named Brannu who runs an equestrian organization and is planning on offering horseback riding lessons in the pictured lot. I spent a little time walking around with him while he visited restaurants and barbershops in the Sweet Auburn neighborhood — until he headed in for lunch at a restaurant with Chicago connections. The mural behind him is by Mexican street artist Neuzz, who made the piece for last year’s Living Walls conference.


Talking to Brannu Urban Cowboy

I had similar experiences in the Vine City neighborhood, which is in the shadow of the (now likely doomed) Georgia Dome. I’ll share the interactions later, but visiting in November was quite a change from the kudzu-covered August: the receding foliage provided clearer views of the neighborhood’s context.

Toward the Georgia Dome

The last time I was in Atlanta, I headed east to visit Sparta, Georgia, so this time I decided I to head west to Birmingham, Alabama. Other than being curious about the city, I was particularly interested in visiting important sites of the civil rights movement and Dawoud Bey‘s Birmingham Project exhibition at the Birmingham Museum of Art.

Among historic locations, I visited several churches, including the 16th Street Baptist Church, below. They are among the many thriving places in the city, but I was struck by the hardships still endured by residents of the historic neighborhoods that were so important to the birth of the civil rights movement. The two photographs below that of the church are representative of many of the older, unoccupied homes located in Collegeville, the home neighborhood for Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth‘s Bethel Baptist Church.


16th Street Baptist Church
Residential Building Residential Building Residential Building

A standout from Birmingham was talking with Ennis Bragg, the owner of the North Side Bragg’s Cleaners and Record Shop. He started the business thirty years ago and has been experimenting with a variety of services and products ever since. The records may be gone, but he still sells everything from CD of his gospel group, The Golden Hummingbirds, to groceries and laundry services. If you’d like you listen to a song from his group, launch the WFMU pop-up player for this episode and slide the bar to 49:24. The song is “He’s Listening” from 1964.


Bragg Cleaners & Record Shop
Ennis Bragg in His Shop

Visit my Alabama and Atlanta and Sparta, Georgia flickr sets for additional photographs and notes from my visit.

Visiting Detroit the Day it Declared Bankruptcy

Sweeping the Sidewalk

The news about Detroit’s bankruptcy broke as I finished packing the car for the four hour drive across Michigan. We weren’t visiting Detroit to cover its bankruptcy and didn’t seek out the choreographed events looping through the headlines. Other than bumping into a press conference complete with half a dozen news vans and plenty of grey and blue suits, there was little to even suggest the announcement had been made.

It’s unclear how the bankruptcy will affect everything from pensions to city services, but life away from the news cameras carried on roughly as normal: people visited parks, cleaned up streets and ate at restaurants. The landscape remained as dynamic as always. Detroit didn’t simply feel like “a city on the brink” or “a half-century of decline” and it certainly wasn’t scored with ominous electronic music. It felt like every day in Detroit.

The following is a small selection of photographs over the course of the visit. For more of my Detroit work, visit the Detroit gallery on my website, my post about life with Detroit’s failing streetlight system and my flickr set.

Millwood Apartments

With the Birds

Closing Up Shop

Dog in the Doorway

The Telway 6820

Johnson's

Loncheria El Parian

The Loyalist Bonfires of Belfast, Northern Ireland

Bonfire on the Street

I recently visited Belfast, Northern Ireland to continue documentation of Eleventh Night and The Twelfth, two controversial holidays during which Protestant Loyalists build massive bonfires and parade through city streets. While Loyalists describe the events as “family friendly” cultural activities, doing so ignores their role as expressions of Protestant political power and steadfast support for Northern Ireland’s membership in the United Kingdom. Given Belfast’s ongoing conflict between the Loyalists and the Catholic Republicans who desire a politically united Ireland, the holiday activities operate as claims over the contested city.

While the political nature of the parades is somewhat buried in historical references on banners and the often unspoken lyrics of flute band songs, the bonfires unambiguously express political perspectives. Viewers need not know that the stacked pallet and tire bonfires are references to a 17th century Protestant victory over Catholics to know the political and religious stakes. In most communities, political allegiances are boldly proclaimed through flags, whether through the nearly ubiquitous flying of the Union Jack or the burning of the Irish Republic’s Tricolor, as well as through political slogans such as “KAT” (shorthand for “Kill All Taigs” [Derogatory slang for Irish Catholics]) in more aggressive districts.

As the Troubles fade and the reconciliation process continues, the City Council is attempting to facilitate a transition to a new Eleventh Night model by offering financial incentives to burn wood chip beacons in recognition of the historical victory without burning of flags and tires. Still, most Loyalist communities rebuff the subsidies not only because the beacons are fast burning and less visually stunning but because they fear loss of the tradition and the already waning youth interest in bonfire construction — and, ultimately, the political conflict in general. These communities’ perspective on the issue can be summed up by one 2012 bonfire banner: “Culture Above Cash.” When put in context, the banner could just as easily read “Politics Above Cash.”

The following bonfire photographs are selections from my recent work in Northern Ireland. I will be updating my Belfast series page with some of these images shortly. Many additional images may be viewed on flickr.

Loyalist Bonfire, ASDA

Burning the Kids' Bonfire

Massive Bonfire Through Fence

City Center Bonfire

In the Shankill

Bonfire Near the Westlink

Bonfire in the Village

Watching the Bonfire Burn

Watching the Shankill Bonfire

Detroit, Michigan

I spent last week in Detroit attending the Society of Architectural Historians‘ annual meeting, where I also had a few opportunities to continue working on my Detroit project. Selections from that work are below, followed by a few traditional architectural photographs.

Walking in the Morning

Residential Buildings at Dusk

On His Motor Bike

Down the Street

Now Burnt

Late Afternoon Snacks

Special Events $25

With Car


Fox Theatre
The Fox Theatre

Guardian Building Interior
The Guardian Building

Guardian Building Interior - Lobby
The Guardian Building

McGregor Memorial Conference Center Detail
McGregor Memorial Conference Center

The Fillmore Detroit
The Fillmore Detroit

Photographs from Another Year of Travel

Last year I compiled a list of representative photographs from many of the locations I visited in 2010. This year was similarly packed with travel, so I decided I should do it again, starting a year from when I made the last post. Nineteen U.S. metropolitan areas and Vancouver, Canada are represented, although there are a few other places I visited that I didn’t include.

A quick note about what you’ll see below: After I visit a place, I typically make a short blog post wherein I share a handful of favorite photographs from the visit. To make it easier to see those images, I’ve linked each city name to a post. Where there isn’t a post, I’ve linked the title to my full flickr set from the approximate place and labeled it with a “[f]”. You can click on any image to see a larger version of it on flickr.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Filling the Water Tank

Colonia residents fill their portable water tank from a new well on the Pajarito Mesa, southwest of Albuquerque. The 400 family community has no public utilities, including running water, electricity or direct access to school busing for children.

Baltimore, Maryland

Perlman Place, Before and After City-Initiated Demolition

The left image was made on the first day of the Perlman Place demolition on April 16, 2010, the right on November 19, 2011. The simplified backstory is after years of neighborhood decline, a developer decided he wanted to turn this block into upmarket, renovated row houses; however, he didn’t have enough financing to make it work. The result was a stalled project, leaving the block in the state it was when pictured in the 2010. In response, the city initiated demolition. There are no immediate plans to replace the demolished units with new housing. The remaining residents are pleased that there are fewer derelict buildings to mask criminal activity, but they are terribly sad to have lost the block.

Chicago, Illinois [f]

Lake Shore Drive in the Blizzard

Cars remained stranded in the snowdrifts on Lake Shore Drive as the blizzard gusted on the morning of February 2.

Cleveland, Ohio

No Road

A closed road on Cleveland’s East Side restricts vehicular traffic from one community to another.

Dallas, Texas

Elmers Drive-In, Downtown Dallas

This convenience store is one of a few retailers nestled between bail bondsmen and other lower rent businesses near the county’s criminal justice complex. Downtown Dallas rises in the background.

Dayton, Ohio [f]

Neighbors

A historic cemetery is crammed into a busy commercial strip in south suburban Dayton.

Detroit, Michigan [f]

West Fort Appliance (After the Neighbors Turned on Their Lights)

The locally-owned West Fort Appliance is illuminated by a neighboring building in the absence of functioning streetlights in this part of the city’s southwest side.

Indianapolis, Indiana [f]

Black Friday: Best Buy Line

Late Thanksgiving night, shoppers waited to take take advantage of discount prices at a Best Buy in an Indianapolis suburb. I walked the length of the parking lot just before midnight, photographing the line’s accumulation in front of four other big box store locations. Two of the four were occupied.

Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri

Railroad Tracks, Grain Elevator, Skyline

Railroad tracks branch out into no fewer than 22 lines before converging into Kansas City, Missouri.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Walking Home

A man walks home from work through his apartment complex on the near east side of Las Vegas.

Lubbock, Texas

Oil Pump at Night

An oil pump churns through the night on the eastern edge of Lubbock, Texas. Here is a short audio recording of how it sounded.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin [f]

Sitting on His Stoop

This man moved to Milwaukee eight years ago after living in Chicago for most of his life. Tired of living in Milwaukee, he is planning on moving to Minneapolis sometime soon.

New Orleans, Louisiana

Residential Buildings, Boys on Bicycle, Falstaff

Two boys ride a bike by a shotgun house marked for demolition on a short residential street. The former Falstaff Brewery is visible on the right side of the frame.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Awesome Books

One of many stores along the burgeoning Penn Avenue Arts District, Awesome Books sells a range of secondhand books.

San Diego, California

At Play

Children play in one of the many mobile home parks located along I-5 between San Diego and the U.S.-Mexico border.

Santa Fe, New Mexico [f]

Along the Highway

A painted billboard rests outside a derelict mall along I-25 between Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

Topeka, Kansas

Hanover Pancake House, McDonald's, Water Tower

Hanover Pancake House, which has served Topeka since 1969, is flanked by McDonald’s and a water tower during a February snowstorm.

Tushka, Oklahoma

Preparing the Chairs

Tushka High School students break down desks and other damaged materials following a tornado that destroyed much of the small Oklahoma town.

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Regent Hotel, Union Market, Hastings Street

Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside is the location of a major redevelopment effort due to its high number of boarding houses and SROs, a few of which are seen here.

Washington, D.C. [f]

Occupy D.C., Freedom Plaza

The Occupy D.C. demonstrations are located on two sites: Freedom Plaza and McPherson Square. The Freedom Plaza encampment (seen above) is adjacent to the District of Columbia’s government building and within sight of the U.S. Capitol Building.

A Year of Photographing Elsewhere

There’s no question that 2010 was an unprecedented year for my fieldwork. In addition to many Chicago area opportunities, I visited nearly two dozen major U.S. cities and had the opportunity to spend time in Belfast, Northern Ireland during Twelfth Night. Each location allowed for several days in the field, so I’ve amassed quite a collection of photographs.

As a way of getting a handle on that work, I pulled out one favorite photograph from many of the locations I visited. A few were exhibited in my recent work shows at the Op Shop and Everyblock, as well as the “Considering the City” show at Work • Detroit, but one would have to consistently follow my flickr stream to see all of these images — so I thought I should share them here.

Atlanta, Georgia

Walking

Baltimore, Maryland

Perlman Place, Baltimore

Belfast, Northern Ireland

Belfast Loyalist Bonfire Preparation, View #1

Chicago, Illinois

Residential Building, New Lights

Clinton, Iowa

Detroit, Michigan

Lit Sides

Indianapolis, Indiana

Skip's MARKET

Las Vegas, Nevada

Police Raid, Children Walking

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Running Through the Demolition Site

New Orleans, Louisiana

Davis Mortuary Service, Crescent City Connection

New York City, New York

Metal Recycling, Cooperative Housing, Bronx

Oakland, California

In the Glow

Phoenix, Arizona

Sunnyslope Mountain, Women Talking

San Francisco, California

Repairing

Sparta, Georgia

Hancock County Court

Washington, D.C.

Memorial, Anacostia Public Housing

A Few Images from the Bay Area

I recently visited the Bay Area for the annual meeting of the ASC and to continue work on another project, but I had an opportunity to do a little additional shooting while there. The following images are selections from those other opportunities in San Francisco, Oakland and Alameda. Additional images from this visit and another from 2008 are available on flickr.

Man Walking, Blimp

At Sundown

Professional

A Problem

Repairing

At the End of the Block

In the Glow

In His Shop

Residential, Industrial

Naval Air Station Alameda

From Above

Recent Work at The Op Shop on July 25th

Running Through the Demolition Site
Running Through the Demolition Site – Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 2010.

A small solo show of my work from Chicago and eleven other locations around the country will be featured on Sunday, July 25 at the newest location of The Opportunity Shop, 5225 S. Harper Ave. The show will be open from 12:00-5:30pm, with a dinner open to the public on site starting around 6pm.

P.S. While you’re down in Hyde Park, you can also check out the Celebrate Hyde Park Music and Art Festival, which will be running from noon until 9pm on 53rd Street, with headlining act WAR.

UPDATE:

Thanks to everyone who came out to the opening. Here is a photograph from the show.

Recent Work at The Opportunity Shop

Belfast on Eleventh Night and the Twelfth

View of Belfast, Burning Bonfires Throughout Protestant Neighborhoods

From July 10-14, I explored Belfast, Northern Ireland with Brian Ashby, Ben Kolak and some extremely helpful Belfast residents.

The weekend is particularly important to the region because of The Twelfth. The Twelfth is a day during which members of the Orange Order, composed of Northern Ireland’s Unionist Protestant population, march throughout the city to celebrate a historical Protestant victory over Catholics (and to achieve some contemporary objectives). Most controversially, they march through the city’s Republican Catholic neighborhoods in that spirit of victory. As one might expect, the marches are not received well in those neighborhoods, particularly given centuries of conflict and the more recent Troubles. As of July 15, riots continue.

The Twelfth is typically preceded by Eleventh Night, on which Unionist Protestants ignite massive bonfires throughout the city for historical and (as is clear in this photo set) very contemporary political reasons. Because the Eleventh Night fell on a Sunday this year, the bonfires were not lit until midnight on the Twelfth. As such, the marches were held just a few hours after the bonfires died down.

I’ve tried to set those events against a backdrop of the physical elements of Belfast that reflect the city’s often starkly segregated social landscape.

A selection of images are below, and you may also see additional images on my official Belfast series page or an unedited selection on flickr.

BBQ 11th 3PM

Unionist Bonfire, Aggressive Statements

"Prepared for Peace, Ready for War"

Burning Unionist Bonfire, Temporarily Boarded Up Homes

Watching the Bonfire Burn, Union Jack

Police Block off a Street in Advance of an Orangemen Parade

"End Sectarian Marches"

Orangemen Parade Marches Through Demonstration

"Peace Wall" Opened to Let Orangemen into a Protestant Neighborhood

Running from the Police Line

The Irish Flag on New Lodge High-rise

Depicting River Rouge, Michigan

Over the summer, one of my favorite places to visit was the city of River Rouge. The city borders Detroit on its southern edge and includes the entirely industrial Zug Island.

I was recently looking for more information about the city, when I found its website and discovered some hilarious surprises in its photography gallery, which I offer as screenshots below. Following the screenshots, I offer some (admittedly narrow) suggestions for replacement images.

Screenshot River Rouge 1

Screenshot River Rouge 2

Girls' Softball

Fishing in the Detroit River Near Zug Island

Belanger Park and River Rouge Power Plant

Coal on Zug Island