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Tracing The Flows

Artist's Statement
I often use my camera to explore my surroundings. When I moved to Chicago’s South Side years ago, I became interested in the South Side’s history. I spent time reading articles that pertained to the different neighborhoods. I would visit the south sides many historical treasures with my camera. In 2020 I began a deeper exploration, focusing primarily on Chicago’s South East Side and the North Western tip of Indiana.

Tracing the Flows is a visual story about Chicago’s South East Side and a very small corner of Indiana’s Northwest side’s history, told through the camera. As I take pictures, I try to think about the past movements of newly arrived immigrants from various countries, as well as US citizens, escaping Jim Crow laws enacted in the South. It is also hard to ignore the movement of people who were part of another migration called white flight: the migration of white upper and middle class people leaving the city for surrounding suburbs. This particular movement, which took place around the middle of the twentieth century, had a cruel impact on the the people who remained in the neighborhoods from which they fled.

When taking photographs I think how time has changed the structures and landscapes. I have revisited many places through all four seasons to understand how differences in day light and weather can change an environment. As I continue to make these pictures I understand that I am also viewing the effects reverse migration has had on many communities.

The places that I have frequented are as varied as the neighborhoods. Some places are nothing more than skeletal remains of industrial sites. The surrounding neighborhoods were hollowed out when workers had to leave in search of other employment opportunities. Yet, there are other communities filled with the activity from newer immigrants, and those who never left because they have always viewed their neighborhoods as home.