The Long Way Home


Lost City
Braddock

Braddock

This is the lost city, the places where I go when time or funds prevents us from traveling. We’ll be on the way to get groceries, or more art supplies or something to eat and always, camera in tow, for when there is something along the way: a great escape. I’ve rested a little on the blogging, focusing more on the photography and on just “being.” It is nice to feel caught-up, mostly, after a long, cold winter, and years of anxiety and grief. I am making up for stalled time.

Cityscape

Cityscape

Phone Check

Phone Check

Reflection

Reflection

Line and Lines

Line and Lines

White House in Blue

White House in Blue

Lost City

Lost City

 

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The Devil is in the Details
May 23, 2014, 7:02 AM
Filed under: Art Gallery | Tags: , , , ,
Untitled, Day Three

Untitled, Day Three

Days three and five: I took these while it was getting windy, and  threatening rain, so to speed things up, I moved to the back of the building (less traffic, fewer people wondering what the hell we were doing: me setting up tripod and camera, while Jeff ran around taking iPhone pictures). The sweetest discovery was that giant blue door. We imagined horse-drawn wagons carting oil lamps out of the building, and through the cobblestone streets. And I love that ghost sign our friends Sheryl and Rebby showed us on the way to dinner one night: you can just make out a devil, his impish grin directing you straight to the company office – such a gorgeous piece of Pittsburgh history, it’s one of my favorites.

Blue Door, Day Three

Blue Door, Day Three

The Devil is in the Details: Ghost sign, Day Five

The Devil is in the Details: Ghost sign, Day Five

Garden Gate, Day Five

Garden Gate, Day Five



Kat in the Rain and Other Stories
May 21, 2014, 8:28 PM
Filed under: Art Gallery | Tags: , , , ,
Buttercup Way, Day One

Buttercup Way, Day One

It’s Polaroid Week and the instant film community is abuzz with analog excitement. This year I had a few photos saved to share, but Saturday Jeff and I took a drive across the Allegheny and to the North Side of Pittsburgh, in the Manchester neighborhood, so I could capture some stories around the Hipwell Manufacturing Company. Hipwell, makers of oil lamp parts and Hipco flashlights, opened their doors in 1887, and operated until 2001. It now houses some offices and most recently as Chloe Sevigny’s apartment building  in the now-defunct series “Those Who Kill.” Day two photos were taken in Braddock, on an eerily quiet, cool Sunday morning in April and last week, my friend Katlin and I ducked out of work for a walk in the rain – me, balancing an umbrella between shoulder and chin to shield the camera, and Kat, fearless in the downpour, laughing.

 

Hipwell Manufacturing Co., Day One

Hipwell Manufacturing Co., Day One

Hotel Puhala, Day 2

Hotel Puhala, Day Two

Kat in the Rain, Day Two

Kat in the Rain, Day Two



Cityscapes in the Rain
April 30, 2014, 7:01 PM
Filed under: Pennsylvania | Tags: , , ,
morning commute

morning commute

Pittsburgh has its rain – lots of it. Supposedly on average, only 59 sunny days annually. When it’s sunny for a few days straight, Pittsburghers are suspicious, as if an unknown force planted us all in another city. We don’t know how to handle the intense light reflecting off warehouse windows, lightly toasting our faces, bleaching the pavement beneath our feet; those few days of sunshine respite teach us to enjoy the moment, the little things. When the storms return, I breathe easy, like returning home from a long vacation worlds away from what I know.

storm sky

storm sky

this is spring in the steel city

this is spring in the steel city

blue cadillac

blue cadillac

the red umbrella

the red umbrella

after the storm

after the storm



From Nowhere
February 11, 2014, 8:49 PM
Filed under: Pennsylvania | Tags: , , , ,
Sunburst, McKees Rocks.

Sunburst, McKees Rocks.

Recently at a party, I chatted briefly with a woman who coincidentally grew up in a town near the one I’m from. Coraopolis..which high school? I shook my head, for some reason apologetic that I went to a tiny high school that nobody ever heard of, feeling the old, familiar tug in my chest that I spent years trying to shake: trying to explain Nowhere to people who are from Somewhere. I spent my adolescence dreaming of escape, and most of my twenties and thirties trying to find ways to get the hell out of nowhere and off to somewhere, figuring once I arrived, I’d have it figured out. But somewhere along the way, I slowed down, paid attention, looked around, admitted: I like coming from nowhere. I like finding other places in the middle of nowhere, and documenting them for others to see, so that they too can go nowhere and see lives lived beyond all the places in the world that everyone typically wants to be. I love driving to different parts of the city and walking streets I thought I knew. I love being the passenger along roads I know with eyes shut, identifying them by their twists and turns. I love driving along Island Avenue, the road to Coraopolis through McKees Rocks – the route that I’d take to visit my mother. I know this road by the way the light dappled across row houses in late morning, and by the dark, black clouds that shook out a rainstorm one frightening summer afternoon, causing a flash flood. I know the view from the McKees Rocks Bridge, the way the sunset bounces off the gold dome of the Orthodox church in the Bottoms – it always leaves me lighthearted, happy, even – a beacon of hope after my mother died. And one late morning on our way somewhere, Jeff and I finally did stop the car so  I could take these photos, because the October light was too beautiful for me to resist. It’s strange to look back at more ordinary moments like these, not knowing the cold, endless winter awaiting us, the creative ways we’ve spent our time as we push towards spring.

Apartment building, early 1900s, McKees Rocks.

Apartment building, early 1900s, McKees Rocks.

Found next to Pierogies Plus.

Found next to Pierogies Plus.

Vacancy.

Vacancy.

Forest-like alley.

Forest-like alley.

Early morning, another time.

Early morning, another time.



Mon Valley: Chapter Two
January 22, 2014, 6:05 AM
Filed under: Pennsylvania | Tags: , , , ,
Route 88 apartment building.

Route 88 apartment building.

Last week, Jeff and I had our portraits done by a group of teenagers at Creative Citizen Studios, a nonprofit “celebrating artists with disabilities.” We also got the opportunity to present our artwork. I displayed the originals of the photos in this post on a table and watched as the kids looked them over. They had great questions: When were these photos taken? They look older. What can you do with a chicken that big? How did the photo [of the houses] get like that? This one, one kid said, holding it close to his face – has a ghost –  matter-of-factly before shuffling it back, and I thought, holy shit, that’s pretty wild. I tried taking a photo on the second floor of the notorious haunted antiques store that day, and the camera mysteriously jammed. How could he have known this? I included it to show the class some common mistakes in instant photography, how not everything in art is perfect. We left the class that night with a gift: drawings of the house with the sun setting behind it, and a tiny pig tucked in one corner. It made me happy to see them continuing stories from where I started them. I’m especially excited to have the class as our featured artists for the March Penn Arts installation, stay tuned.

Sundown, Charleroi.

Sundown, Charleroi.

Small factory behind a CoGo's, Charleroi.

Small factory behind a CoGo’s, Charleroi.

Camera mishap in the haunted antiques store. A ghost messing with my shit, perhaps?

Camera malfunction  in the haunted antiques store. A ghost messing with me, perhaps?

Giant piggy (bank) and a peek of sun, Charleroi.

Giant piggy (bank) and a peek of sun, Charleroi.

Mr. Chicken, Route 88.

Mr. Chicken, Route 88.

Somewhere off the main road: A tiny view of the Mon Valley.

Somewhere off the main road: A tiny view of the Mon Valley.




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