Saturday, February 23, 2019

The South Side Streets

For this week, I decided to highlight my neighborhood. The streets that I live on have a 'melting pot' style of living that I've never encounter in any other part of the city. If you walk the main strip long enough, you start to spot the many differences, and I've learned that it took many years to get to where we are today. So, let me share some findings while I include a few street photos that I snapped.

According to the history, the foundations of South Side Pittsburgh started way back in 1763, when King George III gave John Ormsby about 2400 acres along the Monongahela River as payment for his service during the French and Indian War. The 2400 acres were divided into South Pittsburgh, Birmingham, East Birmingham, and Ormsby. [South Side Facts]

In 1862, those four boroughs were annexed into the City of Pittsburgh, at which point, it became the beginning of South Side. The area became known for its glass industry in the first part of the 1800s. However, by the 1920s, most of the glass factories moved away from South Side, thanks to high taxes and limited real estate. [South Side Facts]

In 1854, B.F. Jones and James Laughlin began American Iron Works, which became the Jones & Laughlin Steel Company in 1902. J & L would use the rivers to bring the raw materials and ship the final products of the steel company. [South Side Facts]

In 1873, steel began being manufactured at the J & L South Side Works. Materials were transported across the Hot Metal Bridge. By 1949, J & L spanned 100 acres of the south shore of the Monongahela River. [South Side Facts]

In 1986, the last J & L South Side Works facility shut down and all the buildings were demolished. However, the area soon became the location of new businesses, homes, jobs, and recreation. [South Side Facts]

Now, South Side is the location of about 10,000 people and home to one of the largest Victorian
streets in the United States: East Carson Street. The entire street is, in fact, designated as a historic district. In recent years, it has become the home of large student populations because of the easy commute to the large universities in the area. [Wikipedia]

Living here today, it feels like a meld between the young and the old. The historic locations and buildings feel as if you're walking through the late 1800s and early 1900s, however the attraction of the younger population has helped to create a younger vibe among the businesses and residential areas.

More images can be found in my gallery. Sorry for not having more. I'd like to do a follow-up and explore more of the historical aspects next time.

Until then.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Escape to the City: Part 1

I believe I mentioned before that I made it my goal this year to try my hand at a little street photography in my spare time. Well, that's exactly what I've been working on here and there. My first round of photos are still in the final stages of being edited, which will hopefully soon go up on my website, along with some updates to the format of my photography portfolio, which is much needed.

I took to the streets as an exercise to clear my mind and some toxicity that I had been feeling. Just doing a little sightseeing can really do some good when you are in a bad place. There's something about the downtown when the sun goes down and the artificial lighting everywhere bursts into a character of color and expression.

Observing the lighted paths, ambient noises, night crowds, lingering traffic...something about it stimulates me. Through a camera lens, a new life is formed and observed in ways that a naked eye could not perceive and the unassisted mind could not comprehend.

I didn't really have any particular pattern or technique as to how I was shooting the buildings or streets around the city. I simply walked a predetermined path downtown and found what looked visually appealing.

So, maybe I'm not the person to ask what determines street photography. According to a quick Google search, street photography, also know as candid photography (in some respects), have no determined conditions met within a public place. It is defined by chance encounters in the urban environment. Actually, street photography doesn't even have to take place in an urban environment to be considered street photography. To sum it up to the best of my ability, it is simply a result of a public record in a natural situation. [What is Street Photography?]

It cannot, in any part, be staged. Otherwise, it is no longer something that is candid by nature. Everything is real. These are pictures that capture a reality in its rawest form. With that, there is a sense that we could see the best and the worst in humanity in just one instance. You've those images that capture significant moments in our history, such as The Burning Monk, by Malcolm Browne. How does that make you feel? That moment happened. That man was burning alive. He died in that very spot. This is the raw energy that can be felt in the unstaged moments of candid photography.

Granted, anything that I captured isn't nearly as dramatic, but that example was used to drive home

the idea of the possibilities of street photography.

I hope to continue this adventure through the seasons this year. If you like what you see, let me know. If you don't, tell me how I can make it better.

More selections from the streets can be found in my updated gallery:

Until the next excursion.