These signs started showing up a few years ago. They didn’t work. There are weekend news reports that read like a baseball box score. But, instead of hits, runs and errors it reads like shootings, muggings and murders. For a while, it seemed like the police had a handle on it. But, we are still short about 500 officers and they can’t be everywhere. Over the summer the body count started to rise. Even though experts disagree, a lot of people who live in inner cities believe that the lack of air conditioners and extreme heat have a lot to do with spiking crime rates. And, there are too many guns on the street. We aren’t taking about Second Amendment rights here. We are talking about criminals with guns.
That’s not the only point of this picture. I photograph what I see. Usually, I just make a few enhancements because I’m one of those people who believes that no picture comes out of the camera finished. That’s for the kind of work that I do. If I was shooting news or was a photojournalist it would be a whole other thing.
I’m in an experimental mood. Part of it has to do with that summer heat I wrote about a couple of paragraphs above. I do have air conditioning so I prefer to stay indoors in the heat of day. Once my other work is finished I get to play.
This image is the result of that. I made it in Central City.
Central City is one of the last remaining ungentrified neighborhoods in New Orleans. But, that’s changing rapidly. It’s valuable real estate even though a lot of it is broken down because a lot of it is located above sea level. You know what that means. A good part of it is in walking distance to the Central Business District and to places like the Superdome.
That all sounds good. Right?
Nope. The home of jazz — Treme — has gone through a gentrification process. Long time families have been forced to move because the rented their homes. For years. They never had enough money to buy them. Their houses were sold out from under them. For a lot of money. Musicians and artists have left. They can’t afford it. I’m always amazed when I talk to some of the benevolent societies while I photograph a second line. Many of their members no longer live in the neighborhood. The very neighborhood they were organized to serve. Instead, they live upriver. Some live almost in Texas. They come home for the parade and drive back the same day.
That’s no good.
I fear the uniqueness that attracts people to the city will come to an end. The music will stop. The the color will turn gray. Luckily, and I say that with mixed emotions, the things that I photograph got very popular after the storm. People come from everywhere to see the Mardi Gras Indians Super Sundays. Or, for the really big second lines. And for just about every possible festival.
The picture. After all that I wrote does it matter? All I can say is that it started out like any normal picture. A good base exposure. Reasonable composition. Good shadow and highlight detail. Then I set out to destroy it. It appears that I succeeded. Heh!