I was excited this summer for my eighteen-hour train ride from Oakland, CA to Eugene, OR. I envisioned taking portraits of fellow passengers, lit by beautiful window light and surrounded by a romanticized train setting. I quickly found out that trains are wobbly fellas and my twin lens medium format camera was shaking in my hand in a way that would only lead to frustratingly blurry photos. Also, after spending the night sleeping upright in a chair, I was tempted to nap, read, and watch episodes of Rick and Morty on my phone. When everyone unexpectedly had to depart the train for two hours in the small town of Klammath Falls, Oregon, the train photo opp I was waiting for materialized. Portraits of passengers waiting to re-board below.
In Texas, vendors are only allowed to sell fireworks in specific locations two weeks before New Years Eve and two weeks before Independence Day. Running the stands is a way to make quick cash, though I wouldn't say it's particularly easy. I've seen people camping out in tents and trailers next to the stands with the whole family helping out. This Fourth of July I drove right outside of Austin to photograph some of the people working fireworks' stands dotting the sides of country roads and highways. There's something about the selling of fireworks that feels very American. And it's an activity that accurately represents the true diversity of our country— all people, no mater the race, age, gender, or ethnicity seem to enjoy buying fireworks, big and small, colorful and loud, to blow up with loved ones.
The organization's Six Square Austin's Black Cultural District and Preservation Austin are exhibiting photos of mine from my East Austin Churches project. The opening night is March 3 from 7-10 p.m. and will include an artist Q&A and discussion. Below is a sneak peak of one of the photos being exhibited and a snippet of my artist statement. To learn more and RSVP, visit the Facebook event.
Undoubtedly, churches are a focal point of East Austin's history. As this area of the city undergoes rapid changes to its physical and cultural landscape, the traditional role of churches as the center of community life has shifted. Using medium format film, this project in progress documents the smaller African American churches and congregations in the neighborhood. These churches embody a culture with a vibrant past, a resilient present, and a potentially tenuous future. They contain a rich heritage and perspective that this exhibit hopes to acknowledge and honor.