Sparta is the county seat of Hancock County, the poorest county in Georgia. I visited it to continue my collaboration with John Eason on rural prison towns. A selection of my photographs of the town are below.
View all of my images from Georgia on flickr.
As both a sociologist and a photographer, it’s hard not to think a lot about observation. While I haven’t systematically addressed the topic, I have been slowly acquiring photographs of people quietly focusing their attention on a clear subject when I’m out in the world doing the same thing. I’m particularly intrigued by the relationship between the internal and external action in the scenes. I’ve included a few of those images below.
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.
Thanks to everyone who came out to the opening. Here is a photograph from the show.
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.
Hidden in the shadow of the Crawford Generating Station is Ahern Signs. The company produces, cleans, repairs and installs all manner of signs, so it has an amazing collection of signs that are waiting to be processed or cannibalized for parts. Below are a few views of the collection, which reads like purgatory for retail commerce.
Those of you who have been to Lula in the last month know that my photos are included in the Spring 2010 show, which is curated by Anders Nilsen and Marianne Fairbanks. The show focuses on the economy and housing and pairs my images with work by two other Chicago artists: Alyssa Miserendino and Alysia Kaplan.
If you’re not ready to head to Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood right now, there’s a nice feature on the Isolated Building Studies at the Italian photography compendium Urbanautica. The website also recently featured new work by another Chicago photographer, Dave Jordano.
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.
While the Chicago Auto Show could certainly provide enough material to fill a book length project, I’d like to quickly draw attention to two unexpected examples of subordination that caught my eye on Sunday.
The first — and more obvious example — is that the workers who constantly clean the cars and their displays are nearly invisible to the auto show visitor. While it’s hard to miss the man who is hand dusting the car one is admiring, I didn’t see one visitor actually acknowledge a worker, even if that worker was a foot away or on his knees in front of the visitor. A few illustrations are below.
That said, the more surprising phenomenon was the seemingly ubiquitous desire to play the role of a criminal suspect by placing one’s hands (or, in the case of wearing imaginary handcuffs, one’s chest) on the hood or trunk of a police vehicle. Not once did I see someone play the role of the police officer with a police car; instead, the performance was always that of a suspect. The act was often done for sake of a photograph, and spanned all ethnic categories. Again, a few examples are below.
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!
Broadway, Gary, Indiana’s derelict commercial main street, is getting a makeover. While the street’s storefronts have been significantly altered over the years, the current homogenizing modifications are surely among the most startling. Below are photographs from 2007 and 2009 that illustrate one aspect of the transformation.
August 30, 2007
December 9, 2009