The Braddock Project

I have started a project on which I expect to be working over the next decade.  Braddock, PA was a steel town located east of Pittsburgh.  The years 1900 through 1960 show that between 12,000 and 20,000 people lived there.  I could not find census data for 1970 and 1980, but by 1990 the steel industry had collapsed and with the infusion of crack cocaine the population dropped to 4,700.  By 2000 the population dropped below 3,000, and the latest census has it at less than 2,200.

I have no interest in disaster porn, there are plenty of photographers more than willing to fill that gap, and the demise of this area has already been well documented.  My hopes, however, are to document the city’s recovery.  John Fetterman, the city’s mayor, has attempted to revitalize the area with Braddock Redux and initiatives such as urban farming.  Over the next ten years I hope to be able to document the recovery of a city.  In these economic times this appears to be an impossible task, but I remain optimistic of the possibilities.

This project will begin with the creation of Bromoil prints.  Over the next several weeks I will offer scans of these prints in the hopes that they give a sense of place, and a starting point from which future images will have a base.

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About GLSmyth

GLSmyth.com GeorgeSmyth.com
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3 Responses to The Braddock Project

  1. Pingback: On The Way Home « Meanderings, at best

  2. rdungan says:

    Sounds like an excellent long term project. I look forward to seeing your pictures. The area where I live has exploded in population in the last 20 years, so, I have begun taking pictures of all the local and unique businesses-buildings in the area, before they are lost to development. Whenever, I see or hear that a business is closing, or, old building is being demolished, I try to get there and document it with photos before it is gone.

  3. simon0252 says:

    A great idea for a project which is both artistic and informative. The Bromoil prints are marvellous and your work is inspiring.

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