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.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Climbing into 2019: projects, writing, and WordPress

I've been meaning to create more updates on this blog, but again, I've been slammed with more work than ever before as things start to transition once again in my life. While it's challenging, I'm also learning to appreciate time management more than I ever have before. Projects that have been backed up for weeks (sometimes months, even) are getting some daily attention as I start to understand the importance of time and how little of it we have.

I've been trying not to put my podcast on hold, but that was unfortunately benched while I realign a few things. However, it will soon be time to bring back some of the things that I love to do and want to share with you.

Let me also say that the motivation that I needed came from seeing you all creating wonderful things yourselves. I forgot that I know and interact with so many talented and artistic individuals and I'm really eager to work with you all again.

It's not just being more active in a creative respect. I've been more conscious of my overall health as I am edging towards the end of my 20s. So, I'm making a promise to myself to start taking better care of my body and my mind well before the time that New Years resolutions are made.

So, speaking of the new year, welcome to 2019. The start of the year is promised by many to be the start of something fresh, something new. What do I have to offer up to the New Year Gods? Well, promises. Like so many others. Promises to myself. Promises to those close to me. A promise to not fade away. To be forgotten is worse than death. Or so I've read.

But hey, this is always a great way to start. If I have in writing, I have something with a little bit of weight.

While I'm trying not to mention it on this particular blog (as it's more related to digital media, film, photography, etc), I have made the move to completely revamp what I'm doing with my writing, because I really want to make that a large focus for this year. Check it out.

WordPress was the first big move that I made. Used as an open-source management tool, WordPress has a lot of power behind it, with an even more powerful community that is using it. It is a place where anyone can create the webpage they desire. Utilizing themes, WordPress allows the user to easily create their ideal website or blog. The themes that can be used can also originate from the user, utilizing web design practices and interfacing. However, there are many resources available for those who aren't as savvy in basic design, HMTL, CSS, etc. There is also plenty more features that I'm failing to mention.

I'm just looking for something basic that I can build upon. So, basic designs and easily developed interfaces are part of my initial blog. Later, I'll be looking into more advanced design techniques and possibly sharing some of that on this blog.

WordPress, it seems, helps connect users to more accessible communities, providing many social
options, including the ability to interface with others with similar goals or interests. This is something that I've been lacking. I need people that can help build me up and vice-versa. Also, what good is my writing if I don't give it a little exposure?

So, I've laid out how I'm starting this year. I will also be making a few film investments in the near future, because I'm not completely out of the game and have plenty of vacation days saved up. Oh, and photography. I'm investing more time in photography. That'll be the focus of my next blog post, actually. Please contact me if there is anything that you need me for or if you have something you want to collaborate on.

See you in 2019.