Relics

relic n. 1. Something that has survived the passage of time, especially an object or custom whose original culture has disappeared. 2. Something cherished for its age or historic interest. 3. An object kept for its association with the past; a memento. 4. An object of religious veneration, especially a piece of the body or a personal item of a saint. 5. or relics A corpse; remains.

This series was inspired by the neighborhood I call home. Most of these photographs were taken between 2001 and 2005 along streets that border the curve of the Mississippi River connecting uptown to downtown New Orleans. The area is old, unkempt, and a little bit tough, with a mix of residential and industrial uses. Brick warehouses and maritime chain yards that fed (and feed) off the port are juxtaposed with turn of the century working class houses.

This body of work is both formal and documentary in nature. I am drawn to the shapes and textures of the postindustrial urban landscape and feel compelled to capture them for posterity. The area is rapidly changing, due in part to the effects of both globalization and gentrification. Warehouses sit empty, crumbling monuments to the commerce and industry that once flourished here. Simultaneously, some structures are finding second lives through various forms of adaptive reuse. As a result, the area is in an odd state of flux, flirting with both decay and renewal.

While this project is based on my immediate surroundings, it speaks to issues that are affecting many urban centers. Perhaps the most dramatic change to occur here is the arrival of a Wal-Mart, taking over several acres of land where warehouses, industrial shops and clapboard homes recently stood. Though I realize change is inevitable, this one is symbolic to me of larger issues affecting our country, as we shift from a production to consumption based economy. So, out of nostalgia for American industry in general and this neighborhood in particular, I’ve made it my mission to try and capture the patina, the funk, the grit, the beautifully rusty underbelly, before it disappears completely.