Concept, Photography, Research, Copywriting, Publication Design, Web Design, 2018.
Three years ago I lived in an old Victorian farmhouse in Southeast Portland that was built in 1895. It had crooked doorways and creaking floors. Despite its structural infirmity, I grew a strong emotional attachment to this house which was my home. I find the idea of a "house" ultimately fascinating, and what privilege it is to live in a house. The spaces we live in surround us as silent witnesses to children growing up, people falling in love, getting married, working, living, and dying. The stories contained within houses are infinite and invisible from the outside. That old house was torn down and I had to leave, but before I moved out I researched the past inhabitants of the house. I compiled a list of the name of every tenant I could find on record since the turn of the century. I developed a keen awareness for other structures that were being demolished in Portland, and thought about how every one of those houses had its own list of names.
I set out to document houses in Portland that are slated for demolition, in other words, whose days are numbered. Using permit information gathered from the city, I biked around town and photographed the houses on film because these technologies are more appropriate for the era when many of these houses were built. I wanted to preserve the last thing I could save, which is an image of the structure.
In Portland, the rate of demolition is increasing at an unprecedented rate. The social and political implications are complicated. My project is not a political statement. I am interested in paying respects to each house that has a history that no one will ever know in entirety.
I titled this project NOTICE, referencing both the signs that are publicly posted in front of houses before they are demolished, and also a call to action for the public to be observant of the changing landscape. This is a move to preserve and respect these unique structures that were once places of enormous significance for many individuals.
The temporal nature of the landscapes I am documenting has been challenging to the format of this project. The subject matter is in constant flux and a print piece cannot keep up with the rapid rate of change. This project has evolved into a website, replacing print for interactivity and updatability.