Back in the early new millennium, 2000 – 2006, Chicago was tearing down the larger public housing complexes such as the infamous Cabrini Green and Robert Taylor structures. As a photographer I was already enjoyed the Post Industrial CityScapes and current manufacturing structures that could still be found in the Chicago area. To me the idea of documenting building demolition was pretty intriguing.
But as I started evaluating the structures one of the first things I noticed was how long it took for the City to relocate the tenants. Consequently numerous structures within the complexes were still inhabited even as neighboring buildings were being demolished. It didn’t take long to start considering the lives of people living there.
But the question brought about an unexpected shift in my approach to the situation. Discussing the issues with a friend, he suggested that I work with the kids who were directly affected by the changes. As it happened I knew a CPS art teacher and we came up with idea of providing the students with disposable cameras and starting a photo and video class. She also introduced me to another CPS extremely dedicated, experienced and effective art teacher who was generous enough to let me sit in some of his classes and talk to any students that were interested in participating. The project became a non profit and continued on for several years but I’ll do into that further at some other time.