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.
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
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
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.
2013 was yet another year of big changes: I finished my fieldwork for my dissertation; I started regularly spending time in both Chicago and Cambridge, Massachusetts; and I started a major shift in the balance of my photographic and video work.
In previous years, I pursued a relatively equal combination of project and non-project work. Typically, that’s meant spending as much time developing formal projects as more loosely exploring a given city. This year, I have been so busy with the formal projects that I have had much less time to “just” explore.
I worked on the documentary film (still tentatively called “The Area”) more than any other project, although I even shifted that balance. I was visiting the neighborhood nearly every day for the first half of the year, but I am now visiting in concentrated chunks. I dedicated much of the time I would have spent in the neighborhood to either writing about the project or initiating post-production work with Scrappers Film Group. If you would like to read some of my writing about the project, I have been authoring a column about the work for BagNewsOriginals. If you haven’t seen the documentary short from the project, you can view it on Gapers Block.
Of the other projects, two of my favorites were documenting Bertrand Goldberg‘s Prentice Women’s Hospital and contributing to the Kartemquin Film’s Almost There. While Prentice’s magnificent exterior presented the usual opportunities and difficulties involved with documenting buildings, the interior documentation was particularly challenging. By the time our team was allowed access to the building, Northwestern University had already begun some elements of the demolition, and the many of the floors lacked electricity for anything other than emergency lighting. Still, the experience was unforgettable, and I am happy with the work we produced. Hopefully the next building will be saved.
I’ve included example photographs from those projects below, along with selected images from my visits to other U.S. cities. You can click through for larger versions of the images on flickr (except for the Prentice images) and can click on the titles to see other blog posts or flickr sets.
Prentice Women’s Hospital
The following is a short advocacy video we made for the National Trust for Historic Preservation about Prentice.
Wheatpasted photograph of Johnny E. Parham, Jr., participant in the Atlanta Student Movement from Sheila Pree Bright’s Project 1960.
A collection of telescope houses from Buffalo’s East Side.
A surprising find in the aftermath of a massive warehouse fire on Chicago’s South Side.
Cleveland, Ohio [f]
Post-war suburban development in Cleveland-adjacent Euclid, Ohio.
The House of Soul was one of several Heidelberg Project buildings burned by an arsonist in 2013.
Scaling fish on the sidewalk in the Bronx.
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.
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.
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.
Cars remained stranded in the snowdrifts on Lake Shore Drive as the blizzard gusted on the morning of February 2.
A closed road on Cleveland’s East Side restricts vehicular traffic from one community to another.
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]
A historic cemetery is crammed into a busy commercial strip in south suburban Dayton.
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.
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.
Railroad tracks branch out into no fewer than 22 lines before converging into Kansas City, Missouri.
A man walks home from work through his apartment complex on the near east side of Las Vegas.
An oil pump churns through the night on the eastern edge of Lubbock, Texas. Here is a short audio recording of how it sounded.
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.
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.
One of many stores along the burgeoning Penn Avenue Arts District, Awesome Books sells a range of secondhand books.
Children play in one of the many mobile home parks located along I-5 between San Diego and the U.S.-Mexico border.
A painted billboard rests outside a derelict mall along I-25 between Santa Fe and Albuquerque.
Hanover Pancake House, which has served Topeka since 1969, is flanked by McDonald’s and a water tower during a February snowstorm.
Tushka High School students break down desks and other damaged materials following a tornado that destroyed much of the small Oklahoma town.
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]
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.
My time in San Diego was different from other recent trips, because I didn’t have a lot of time for neighborhood exploration other than direct work on the urban redevelopment project. Even so, I was able to spend a little extra time in the city.
Here are a few images from time in Barrio Logan and the other neighborhoods immediately north and south of downtown.
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.
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Las Vegas, Nevada
New Orleans, Louisiana
New York City, New York
San Francisco, California
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.