Atlanta’s Not So Easy Streets

(This post is not about Jeff Wall.)

I walked nine miles in the city of Atlanta this weekend and didn’t encounter a single pedestrian on my side of the street.

While walking, I listened to a radio show about how Los Angeles is actually a greener city than a place like Atlanta. Your sprawl isn’t my sprawl, apparently. Here, there’s been no political will to create (or recreate) a place that makes sense from the perspective of the pedestrian. A lack of urban planning, when coupled with a rush of development for development’s sake and demolition of affordable housing, yields a city that has an imperceptible civic pulse, a city that’s entirely dependent on (while being strangled by) the almighty automobile. The number of gated condo-communities within a half-mile of Atlanta’s downtown skyscrapers is astounding!

Photographically, this means I’m shifting to more access-oriented projects. There’s these unpeopled scenes I’ve found below, and I can head for the hills. But still; I thought that in order to call yourself a city you were required to have a diversity of people (economically and ethnically) living, working, eating, sleeping and thriving within your downtown core. Who needs ’em when you have conventions, conferences and the world’s busiest airport!

I was talking with a friend a few months ago about the difficulty of making street pictures here, and even then, I felt like I could persevere and crack that nut. Wide-eyed optimism. Now, it’s time to shift gears, uncover new visual interests (getting there) and do something different.

Nothing like putting it into words as a way of making it real. Onward!



Fashion Car(e)

10 thoughts on “Atlanta’s Not So Easy Streets”

  1. Man, this is sad. More and more places are designed (or are just allowed to happen) so that pedestrians are forced, literally, out of the picture. I can see making a photographic statement about these urbanscapes that look as if struck by a neutron bomb.

  2. Atlanta is not unlike many US cities tht continually genuflect to the automobile. There are people that buck the trend though. My sister and her husband bought a home in East Atlanta a few years back for the simple reason that they could walk to many destinations rather than be forced to drive. Hell, they don’t even have a garage. How un-American. 😉
    Good luck exploring the deserted sidewalks.

  3. If I were a different kind of photographer, I might like it, Matt. It reminds me of sections of Market St. in San Francisco.

    There are people there, yes, but there’s not enough variation of subject, motion, or light for my taste. Lots of dealing (and cop action) going on there, from what I’ve seen.

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