In recent years I have gained more interest in the effects of the economic recession in the US on different facets of American life- in the workplace, in funding for Commercial businesses, in the home, and on people. I have begun several photographic projects exploring and documenting several of these issues, and for my final project in Documentary Photography I plan on documenting commercial buildings that have ‘gone under’ in recent years. To better understand the economic effects on commercial buildings I will photograph buildings within a selected 2-3 square mile radius, in three different Northeast Texas cities. Photographing this architectural transect is a way for me to observe and document the commercial changes within specific areas of Texas where I currently reside. The project also aims to expand awareness of the afore-mentioned economic effects.
There have been many photographers producing similar work on topics related to my project. One example is contemporary photographer Kirk Crippens, who has been photographing foreclosed neighborhoods in Stockton, California. Crippens’ photographs document “one of the foreclosure capitals of the country. In the first quarter of 2009, one in every twenty-seven housing units in [Stockton] received a foreclosure notice against a national rate of about one in one hundred and fifty-nine.” These photographs depict the “after-homes”- houses in transition- waiting to become homes once again to different people. The photographs show a haunting contrast between the ideal and the abandoned. “[The] collection is not a social commentary on Stockton, but the scale of its foreclosure problem affords a rich diversity of pictures of the after-home and of the adjoining farm landscape that had to make way to make possible the manufactured landscape” (kirkcrippens.com). I also plan on researching work from Jeff Brouws, The Phoenix Transect project, and The Necessity for Ruins, and Other Topics by J. B. Jackson, to further investigate themes for the project.
I have decided to divide my project between three cities- Commerce, Euless and Dallas, Texas. This documentation will be photographed in various locations to better understand the overall change and status of commercial buildings. I will photograph select areas within each city that have a high density of closed commercial property. I plan on composing each photograph so that the body of work is cohesive as a whole. I will photograph the fronts of selected commercial properties, in a style similar to Paho Mann’s Re-Inhabited Circle Ks project (pahomann.com). As the project expands I may photograph other aspects of the buildings. The photographs will be made using a 35mm digital camera and I will be producing color inkjet prints of the photographs. In addition to the final prints I will be linking the photographs to their location on Google Maps through use of an iWeb website.