El Paso (Before/After)
There’s a street corner in El Paso, Texas, that Stephen Shore photographed in 1975. The picture appeared in his book, “Uncommon Places.”
Even at the time, Shore’s photography was a cataloging of the kinds of things that were doomed to vanish; wallpaper, street corners, truck stop restrooms. His pictures were down the road from Greil Marcus’ “Old Weird America” and just shy of the multiplex and big box store. I visited El Paso a few weeks ago, and the location bears little resemblance to the Shore photo. Here’s what it looks like from above (pic links to a flickrmap):
Here’s Shore’s picture. Note the large brick building on the left of the frame, and the small, historical marker in the foreground:
Above and beyond the merits of Shore’s picture as a photograph, there are few key things that have changed in the last 31 years.
- The street that the pedestrian is waiting to cross has been filled-in and is now cement, part of an extended memorial area
- The (rootless, planterless) tree is gone
- The marker has been turned into a larger memorial/statue area
- The front facade of the large brick hotel remains, and has been added onto, after demolition of the Capri Theater and Payless Drugs
- The parking lot on the left is larger and the liquor store is gone
Here’s a crude cellphone video of what it looks like now:
For StartersWays of Working, a 10-step introduction to the ins-and-outs of street photography with only nine steps. Or, look at Resources & Discussions.
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