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.