I initially intended to shoot the project for a longer period of time but life is unpredictable. The idea was spawned out of a desire to pick up my camera in Denver. For quite a while, I've felt artistically uninspired here. I always found myself traveling to other cities to shoot. After some self examination, what I learned were 2 things.. First, I really do find Denver uninspiring. Secondly, but more importantly... Despite being bored with where I was at, I needed to challenge myself, step out of my comfort zone, and find something to shoot.
I finally realized that in me saying "there is nothing to shoot here" I was ultimately not being creative enough to find something to photograph. It was around this time I started listening to a lot of The Candid Frame, and Street Focus podcasts which are street photography based shows. They both really helped me get out of the creative funk I was in. If you haven't heard of them, I highly suggest you check them both out. I'll include links at the bottom.
I decided to do a photo essay on the gentrification of one of Denvers oldest neighborhoods, 5 Points or known more commonly now to some as RiNo or River North Art District. An unfortunately classic story of what's happening in pretty much every major city in America.
This is the first time I have ever attempted a very specific project like this. I have to say while it lasted, it was super fun! It really got me hyped on making photos again, and it forced me out of the apartment, out of the shitty headspace I was in, and challenged me to shoot in a more photojournalism type way.
In the future I would like to come up with another photo project, one that can be shot over a longer period of time. I am super thankful I was able to make the photos that I did. I think they may be interesting in 30 or 40 years from now.
For the last year or 2, that's really how I've come to think about my photographs. I evaluate them and judge them for their perspective weight years from now versus whatever social meaning they may or may not have today.
I've found applying that view point to my work helps me evaluate what photos I should make vs. the photographs I must make.
Going into this project, I knew a few things in advance.. I wanted it to be all B/W as I feel it creates a more timeless photo and also, I wanted to put a lot of emphasis on light, and shadow. To do this, I scouted almost all the locations several times to see when the light/shadow's were hitting exactly the way I wanted. With that out of the way, I could show up to a location (as many as 6 times) and wait for the universe to unfold and give me exactly what I wanted. Sometimes better than I could have hoped for.
I talked to the lady that lives sandwiched between these two visual cue's of gentrification, and she mentioned she's lived there for more than 40 years and has no intention of selling. She's declined several offers. You go girl.
There it is, short and sweet. I'm going to start working on another one here soon based off my final 21 days in Denver.
As I write this, I'm currently in NYC for the summer in order to surround myself amongst some of the most creative, talented, and driven individuals in the world. Exactly the motivation I needed to "do the work" as they say. Even when in the beginning it feels like no one's really watching, listening, or paying attention.
If you find value in these blogs, please reach out to me, it really goes a long way. I have some interesting and hopefully thought provoking ideas coming in the future that I hope will expand on what this blog has been and what I think it could be moving forward.
The Candid Frame: http://www.ibarionex.net/thecandidframe/
Or you can download the app via IOS & Android.
Street Focus: http://thisweekinphoto.com/category/street-focus/