As someone who primarily grew up in the Midwest and has called Chicago home for several years, cities dominated by row houses seem alien. Among those row house cities, Baltimore stands apart for the relative wholeness of these districts — even of those in tremendous disrepair.
Certainly, many portions of the city have been dramatically altered by demolition and redevelopment projects, but the ability to walk down a formerly residential street flanked by uninterrupted derelict row houses is unique to me. In a city like Philadelphia, there would be more pockmarks. Elsewhere, like Camden, NJ, those pockmarks may even dominate the landscape.
Such Baltimore blocks demonstrate that the city has clearly resisted quite a bit of demolition, but it appears the tide is now turning. The first of the three images below are of a block that will soon endure the demolition of 67 buildings. Given the current economic climate and the condition of the neighborhood, I would be surprised if anything fills those slots for years to come. If this block becomes precedent, the city could look very different in just a few years.
I’m excited to be participating in two out of town openings this weekend.
The first is a solo show entitled “The Isolated Building” at Mt. Comfort Gallery in Indianapolis. It’s the first show in its new home in the Murphy Art Center, so I decided to really go all-out. I’m particularly excited to be working in three different print sizes, all of which should provide significantly different opportunities for interacting with the images. Below is one example of one of the installations before it was installed.
I’ll be there all evening, so if you’re in Indianapolis, it’d be great to see you.
The second is a group show at the New Orleans Photo Alliance entitled “The American Dream,” juried by Deborah Willis. Included in the show is a photograph from my Detroit series, “Dinner at the Taco Stand,” which I’m proud to say took the juror’s prize.
While I obviously can’t be in both places at once, I’m looking forward to seeing the show when I visit New Orleans at the end of the month.
UPDATE: Here are a few photographs from the Indianapolis show. “Thank you” to everyone who came out despite the snow storm!
Every weekend, motorcycle and all terrain vehicle enthusiasts gather on the north side of Camden, New Jersey. Driven from most city streets by the police, the participants converge in and around Pyne Poynt Park to race amongst a patchwork of row houses and vacant lots. The riders are predominantly male, ethnically diverse and range in age from teenagers to those in their late 20s, while bystanders span from the very young to even the mothers of some of the riders.
Despite tricks and high-speed races, police officers mainly leave them alone, perhaps figuring it’s better to sequester the riders than risking police chase accidents like the one that left one rider with a broken back and seizures. Even so, the occasional warning siren from a passing squad car is greeted with jeers, engine revving and more than a few choice gestures.
The following images are a sampling of the events and the surrounding area.
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.
I spent a lot of time thinking about how I might novelly approach photographing Detroit while preparing to go there for the summer. While my main approaches were to address living with abandonment and visual representations of the public/private divide using traditional digital photography, I spent some time considering how different photographic methods might augment the typical visual experience of the city — the idea being that different methods of documentation or presentation could provide additional information about a city or neighborhood to a viewer who is unlikely to ever view the place.
Of the alternative methods I considered, I decided to experiment with anaglyphic 3D photography for its obvious ability to interject depth to typical two dimensional images. Having never worked with the process before, these images are not technically perfect, but I’m happy with them as attempts at something new. I have some concern that the three dimensionality might make the viewing experience even more foreign or unnecessarily playful, but I hope that same playfulness will more completely engage the viewer with the environment … and ultimately prompt additional questions about the documented places.
Unfortunately, the viewer needs red-cyan glasses to properly view the following images, but I have included links to two-dimensional images of a few of them for those without the glasses.
Hamtramck Disneyland was created by Dmytro Szylak. “Mr. Szylak was born in 1920, in the village of Lwiw, Ukraine, and came to the U.S. in 1949. He began building this work around 1990, after retiring from the General Motors Hydromatic Factory, where he worked on the assembly line for 32 years.” [From]
The Heidelberg Project is a community oriented art project created by Tyree Guyton.
The Hope District is a community in Detroit that seeks to provide jobs and affordable housing for all.