So I went for a walk today in a part of town that has changed drastically through the years. When I was little and my grandpa lived in this neighborhood, it was strictly hard working blue collar families. I would wander about for hours on end, either by foot (usually bare in the summertime) or by bike, the kind that had a pink plastic basket tied to the front of it and long, luscious, sparkly tassels that whipped wildly in the wind as I pedaled gleefully in every desirable direction. As I grew older and moved through high school and off to college, the town moved on, too. Only, it shifted not so much up, but rather sideways… then down. For years it stood stagnant, waiting, watching, biding its time to shine. Finally, it became hip about 10 or so years ago, with art galleries, tea and coffee shops, fine restaurants and boutiques sprouting up on every inch of its bustling main square. And it was in that main square, to-go cup of tea in hand, that I ventured out to see what I could capture with my Nikon. At first my journey seemed innocent enough, tidy homes on offshoot streets from the main drag. And then curiosity got the better of me. I veered off course toward the looming train tracks that coiled on the outskirts of this area, like a barbwire bracelet wrapped around a princesses’ wrist.
After shooting some train track images (my first attempt at doing so) I noticed an odd, dilapidated small hut of a building seemingly long abandoned and boarded up.
Upon closer inspection I saw haphazard attempts at covering some of its windows with plywood, carpet and saran wrap all hung with raw rusty nails beat in zigzag, pitiful patterns. This sagging sight had once been the thriving train station. Soon I rounded the corner, my curiosity pulling me closer. Suddenly the profound silence of the place struck fear in every part of my being as I noticed the back windows had been smashed out and the back door stood gaping ajar, nothing but pitch black inside. Pitch black and about an inch of standing water that had pooled at its mouth where rotted wood met concrete. And then I saw it. A small stack of bags, some canvas, some paper and a little folded umbrella. I was not alone here. I stood stock still for a moment, slowly lowered my camera and silently watched for movement in the jet black. Nothing. I took one last look at the stranger’s belongings and carefully, quickly vacated the scene. I learned two things today.
1) Never shoot in a questionable place like that again alone and 2) Though that part of town has had quite an impressive facelift, it still has a long way to go before it can live up to its full potential of youth.