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Faces of Gentrification
Old 08-10-2019   #1
giganova
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Faces of Gentrification

Hi friends!

Union Market is a neighborhood in Washington D.C. that is undergoing -- like so many other places -- rapid gentrification: Less than a mile from the Capitol, Union Market has been the main whole sale food market since 1931 that serves restaurant businesses. Today, most buildings are in the process of being demolished to make way for high-rise luxury condominiums, coffee shops, book stores, high-end furniture and jewelry stores.

I have been documenting the people who live and work in this neighborhood for over a year now and intend to do so until the transformation is complete. By then, another historical neighborhood will be lost forever and the predominantly African-American and Latino neighborhood will be displaced by high-income millennials.

Right now the place is in such an absurd state: you see hustlers, prostitutes, drug addicts and homeless people on one side of the street -- and a group of hipster-bearded dudes sitting on their newly restored cafe racer motorcycles sipping $6 lattes on the other side of the street.

My plan is to make as many good pictures as I can in the little time that is left and then mount an exhibition to show this dramatic transformation.









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Old 08-10-2019   #2
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Old 08-10-2019   #3
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Old 08-10-2019   #4
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Old 08-10-2019   #5
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Old 08-10-2019   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giganova View Post

Right now the place is in such an absurd state: you see hustlers, prostitutes, drug addicts and homeless people on one side of the street -- and a group of hipster-bearded dudes sitting on their newly restored cafe racer motorcycles sipping $6 lattes on the other side of the street.
I would have liked to see some pics of hipster bearded doods on their sweet cafe racers.
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Old 08-10-2019   #7
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Great stuff ... thanks for posting. I particularly liked this portrait ... really excellent.

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Old 08-11-2019   #8
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So far you are sharing pics of a run-down neighborhood. The juxtaposition is missing.
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Old 08-11-2019   #9
olifaunt
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Good photos. I wonder who are these "high-income millennials" who got all the money while us Gen-Xers got nothing? The children of the 1%? I thought millennials (some of whom portrayed in dire circumstances in your photos) generally were also struggling like most of my own generation.
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Old 08-11-2019   #10
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Great stuff ... thanks for posting. I particularly liked this portrait ... really excellent.
This guy is homeless and HIV positive. When he saw me and my camera, he asked if I could take a picture of him.
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Old 08-11-2019   #11
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So far you are sharing pics of a run-down neighborhood. The juxtaposition is missing.
Its a bit too early to show the juxtaposition because the neighborhood is still in transformation. But showing the contrast is exactly what I have in mind.
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Old 08-11-2019   #12
Ko.Fe.
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I have seen similar set of pictures here at RF. With dope heads and other marginals.
Similar situation, old place sold for developers. I forgot who took them, Carlzone or Dektol Dan.
How do you get this close to those people. Offering cash or saying it is for documentary?

It will be interesting to see how this place will be transformed. In Toronto most of the time they just demolishing old places. It is place dominated by newcomers who has no past in Canada.
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Old 08-11-2019   #13
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But showing the contrast is exactly what I have in mind.
I'm looking forward to it. Good luck!
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Old 08-11-2019   #14
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I didn't see any gentrification in the photos. Just dilapidated buildings.
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Old 08-11-2019   #15
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For some unkown reason, all I get are little graphics of a broken image. I can't see the actual photos. Anyone have an idea why this is? Is my anti-virus or malwarebytes killing links?

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Originally Posted by olifaunt View Post
Good photos. I wonder who are these "high-income millennials" who got all the money while us Gen-Xers got nothing? The children of the 1%? I thought millennials (some of whom portrayed in dire circumstances in your photos) generally were also struggling like most of my own generation.
I think we tend to seriously underestimate the wealth shift that has happened in the last 40 years. The huge amount of income and wealth that has flowed up hill is astounding. And DC has certainly been one of the major places for this money to collect.

I was displaced from San Francisco. A man bought a building for $4.3 million, paid cash, 3 flats. Rents went from $3500 to $8000. Gave it to his 24 year old son to live in and play with. After a year, the son wanted his own place, not to share one flat with his friends. So the father bought him the building next door, mine, where I had been a tenant for 20 years. Only $2.8 million, cash again, for this one, 3 flats, but $1 million in renovations planned.

So yes, much of it is the 1% or 3% or 5% kids coming in. It doesn't take huge numbers to flip a neighborhood in relation to the overall population of the US. And much of the consolidation of wealth has been to the Baby Boomers, and now their kids are looking for games to play.

Photography is mainly an avocation done with discretionary income. So most people in a place like RFF are doing just fine. Most probably not at the '$4.3 million cash' level, but still fairly secure. And it is my experience that those with financial security have a very hard time understanding what is happening to the overwhelming majority of Americans.

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I didn't see any gentrification in the photos. Just dilapidated buildings.
I looked up Union Market- https://unionmarketdc.com/
Amazing how similar all of these places are around the US. Same food, same stores, same images, same talk of 'authenticity.' It's like there is some factory in Nebraska or such making these places and shipping them out wherever they can sell one. Soon you will be able to buy an 'alternative, energetic, entrepreneurial arts distict' on Amazon. I can understand the OP not bothering showing the new stuff. Boring as crap and available in most any major city already.
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Old 08-11-2019   #16
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Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
How do you get this close to those people. Offering cash or saying it is for documentary?
I'm closer than you think: most pictures are taken with wide angle lenses and I am right into their faces!

Strangely, of the dozens of homeless people I have photographed, none has ever asked me for money. I think this is because that's the place where they live, their home, not the place where they solicit (in more touristy areas downtown).

I usually walk up to them and start a conversation along the line "What's going on in your neighborhood? Where are you gonna live when they knock down all the building?", we then talk for a while and then I ask if I can take a picture. Its all about taking them seriously and having a conversation where you show that you are interested in their problems.

There is such a difference what particular camera I use on that day. People seem to be scared of small "sneaky" cameras, but when I carry around my large Mamiya RZ67, a lot of people walk straight up to me and ask me if I can take a picture of them!

Contrary to what I read a lot (Mamiya RZ being too large & heavy to carry around), I find the Mamiya RZ the best street camera ever made: its size and weight make it clear that you are not trying to sneak up on people and secretly take a picture. Its about being honest and upfront and the camera screams "I do serious art, so come over here and let me take a picture of you!"
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Old 08-11-2019   #17
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Thank you for very detailed answer!
I'm just not this strong to carry on anything significantly larger than M4-2 on the streets .
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Old 08-11-2019   #18
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For some reason the Politicians have ignored my plan to move most of the Federal Government out of Washington, DC. I'd move the Department of Commerce to Detroit, the Department of Education to Alabama, the Department of Agriculture to Omaha, Department of Energy to North Dakota, Immigration and Naturalization to Los Angeles, etc. Why shouldn't the departments be located across the US, where their topics are the citizens' livelihood?
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Old 08-11-2019   #19
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Originally Posted by View Range View Post
For some reason the Politicians have ignored my plan to move most of the Federal Government out of Washington, DC. I'd move the Department of Commerce to Detroit, the Department of Education to Alabama, the Department of Agriculture to Omaha, Department of Energy to North Dakota, Immigration and Naturalization to Los Angeles, etc. Why shouldn't the departments be located across the US, where their topics are the citizens' livelihood?

Like what they are doing with two branches of the USDA>
https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1...079495169.html
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Old 08-11-2019   #20
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Originally Posted by Dan Daniel View Post
...I looked up Union Market- https://unionmarketdc.com/
Amazing how similar all of these places are around the US. Same food, same stores, same images, same talk of 'authenticity.' It's like there is some factory in Nebraska or such making these places and shipping them out wherever they can sell one. Soon you will be able to buy an 'alternative, energetic, entrepreneurial arts distict' on Amazon. I can understand the OP not bothering showing the new stuff. Boring as crap and available in most any major city already.
This theme was discussed in a book called "The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America's Man-Made Landscape" by James Howard Kunstler. Kunstler is primarily discussing the cookie-cutter nature of American suburban landscape (as I recall, it's been many years since I read the book), but it could equally apply to urban locales. His thesis is that one can exit an interstate highway in just about anyplace in America and the scene will look just the same as anywhere else in America - same fast food joints, stores, etc... Very worthwhile read as I recall.
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Old 08-11-2019   #21
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Originally Posted by Brierfield View Post

This theme was discussed in a book called "The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America's Man-Made Landscape" by James Howard Kunstler. Kunstler is primarily discussing the cookie-cutter nature of American suburban landscape (as I recall, it's been many years since I read the book), but it could equally apply to urban locales. His thesis is that one can exit an interstate highway in just about anyplace in America and the scene will look just the same as anywhere else in America - same fast food joints, stores, etc... Very worthwhile read as I recall.
Kunstler is good on this, and others have written about. In a variety of ways. And many photographers, of course, it's hard to miss the blandness and similarities around the US.

It is fascinating to see the same principles coming into the city. And the problem, as the OP is photographing, is that unlike a freeway interchange on the outskirts of town, making over an urban area into a homogeneous money-making market means cleansing the area of people. And cleansing is an important word to use. Gentrification has a rather anodyne quality to what is a violent process for many.
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Old 08-11-2019   #22
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Originally Posted by View Range View Post
For some reason the Politicians have ignored my plan to move most of the Federal Government out of Washington, DC. I'd move the Department of Commerce to Detroit, the Department of Education to Alabama, the Department of Agriculture to Omaha, Department of Energy to North Dakota, Immigration and Naturalization to Los Angeles, etc. Why shouldn't the departments be located across the US, where their topics are the citizens' livelihood?
Most of the Federal Government IS outside of Washington, DC: only 1/6 of the federal workforce is in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, including Virginia and Maryland. Less than 10% of Washingtonians work for the government.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graph...deral-workers/
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Old 08-11-2019   #23
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Quote:
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I was displaced from San Francisco. A man bought a building for $4.3 million, paid cash, 3 flats. Rents went from $3500 to $8000. Gave it to his 24 year old son to live in and play with. After a year, the son wanted his own place, not to share one flat with his friends. So the father bought him the building next door, mine, where I had been a tenant for 20 years. Only $2.8 million, cash again, for this one, 3 flats, but $1 million in renovations planned.
The same thing has happened in Sydney's Inner West over the last decade and a bit. Traditionally very working class with a lot of manufacturing, poor, big migrant communities.

Now you can't buy a 2 bedroom terrace with a non-functioning bathroom for less than $1m.

I'll be watching this thread with interest.
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Old 08-12-2019   #24
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What they like in this part of the world is to buy a bit of land from two neighbours; meaning the bit in between the houses. Then they build two semi's* in the plot.


The lucky ones have a house a little wider than their car and so can park outside; with a lot of twisting and turning...


Regards, David




* A "semi" is half of a building and neighbours share a common wall in the middle. The word is short for "semi-detached" and a proper house is "detached" or "semi" and "det" when advertised.
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