Sunday, December 26, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Posted by Deirdre Oakley, AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS – There are 700,000 bicycles in Amsterdam, a city known as one of the most bicycle-friendly in the world. That’s one bike for every two people living in the city, posing smog-free traffic congestion challenges unheard of in car-centered urban America. Pictured here is the very crowded fietsenstalling (bicycle garage) at the city’s Centraal Train Station. For a small fee bicyclers can park here, and over 100,000 do every day. With four stories full of bicycles crammed together in seemingly endless rows, let’s hope forgetting where you parked is not a common occurrence.
Deirdre Oakley is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Georgia State University and Editor of Social Shutter. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. To view more City of Bicycles photographs, log on to our Facebook page.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Xphaqtor is a photographer based in Houston, Texas, specializing in music photography, portraiture, and editorial photography. He has photographed a myriad of music artists, including Common, Lupe Fiasco, Rhymefest, Raekwon, Bun B, and Fantasia; and been featured in such venues as XXLMag.com and ComplexMag.com. You can view more of his work at http://xphaqtor.com.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
The transition driving into the Upper Hill was fairly abrupt. I drove past the University of Pittsburgh (“Pitt”), up a fairly steep, wooded hill, and came out surrounded by intermittent signs of urban decay. It was difficult to identify much difference between the Upper and Middle Hill Districts—both geographically and environmentally. Each had its fair share of seemingly decent housing, dotted with abandoned buildings here and there. However, when I reached the Lower Hill, I noticed significantly more abandoned buildings and empty lots and got my first glimpse at some of Pittsburgh’s public housing. The most shocking point was when I reached the crest of the hill. There I stood in the middle of a street, sandwiched between abandoned buildings, empty lots, and public housing looking at a beautiful view of downtown Pittsburgh glittering with all its revitalized prosperity.
I was almost done with my “tour” by then and set out to find the nearby restaurant where I had planned to eat lunch. The restaurant was located just a few streets over, yet I had to drive almost all the way back to where I entered the Hill District to connect to the street where it was located . It was like the Hill District was deliberately cut off from the rest of the city. Curious, I decided my tour wasn’t over yet. I walked back to the far side of the public housing community to see if perhaps there was another street connection I had missed. There I found yet another surprise: a stone wall overlooking a hill filled with overgrown brush and several very steep, long staircases leading to the road below, and the rest of the city. Not only were the residents here experiencing extreme forms of poverty and geographic isolation, but ironically they had a great view—in two directions—of the economic prosperity that surrounded them as well.
A main thoroughfare cuts through the side of the mountain. To the right, up the mountain, is the Hill District. To the left, further down the mountain, is part of downtown Pittsburgh.
One of the few housing developments that was actually followed through to completion sits at the very bottom of the Lower Hill, directly adjacent to the beautiful skyscrapers of downtown Pittsburgh.
From the back of the public housing that sits atop the crest of the hill in the Lower Hill, one can see clearly the various Universities, hospitals, and other businesses and residential areas. However, the geographic isolation makes these entities difficult to access.
Public Housing in the Lower Hill District.
This was one of two roads that would take you off “the Hill” without having to backtrack completely out of the Hill District. The road, though in the middle of downtown Pittsburgh, appears to be surrounded by forest. It is barely wide enough for two cars to pass at one time, and has no sidewalks.
A man sits on a guardrail at the bottom of a long staircase tumbling through the woods from the Lower Hill District to the main thoroughfare below, where he can access public transportation.
Angie Luvara is a photographer and Managing Editor of Social Shutter. She has a Master's Degree in Criminology from the University of California at Irvine. You can view more of her photography at http://angieluvphotography.blogspot.com/. And for more photos of the Hill District log on to Social Shutter's Facebook page.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Posted by John Henry Baliton, PASADENA, CA -- Alex, the young man in this photo, arrives to a home of former gang members located on Navarro Avenue in Pasadena, California. Typically, in this neighborhood, one would not associate a home full of ex-gang members as a positive thing, but to Alex, it has been a saving grace. When Alex's father decided that he could no longer care for him because of his mental health issues, this was where Alex was dropped off. It is a home that specializes in caring for people just like Alex, and was founded and is staffed by former gang members. Alex attends a special school during the day and receives more specialized care at home after school.
John Henry Baliton is a photographer and graduate of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. You can see more of his work at http://www.human-being.us/.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
House Music emerged from rubble of the Disco scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s. By then popular culture had decided that “Disco sucks”. Even the Bee Gees were booed off the stage at Shea Stadium. Not so for House Music. House initially catered mainly to an African American and Latino audience beginning in Chicago, and then spreading to cities like Detroit, Newark, New York City, Atlanta, San Francisco and eventually overseas. Although its popularity is now wide, it still remains a largely underground scene.
Every city has its own brand of House Music, but its foundation is always Disco’s steady four-on-the-floor beat with varieties of soul, funk, jazz, salsa, gospel and reggae over-dubbed. The result is a multi-layered, highly danceable mix without the more synthetic quality of Disco, a quality that became its downfall. Yet, perhaps it is because of the Disco beat blended with a mix of musical genres that House appeals to such a diverse group of people spanning multiple generations.
House in the Park has become known for attracting all sorts of people. No one is unwelcome – it doesn’t matter what your age, gender, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation is: getting your swerve on is about peace, unity, and having a good time. In 2009 a crowd of over 4,000 showed up; this year almost 10,000 did. Perhaps it keeps growing because there’s enough going on for everybody including the people who want to dance, those who want to socialize and just hang out, artists who want to paint the scene, musicians who want to jam along with the beat, and the serious barbequers who want to cook with their industrial-strength smokers. The delicious smells, the beat, the artistic creativity, the sweaty heat, the generosity of spirit, and the rhythmic movement of the crowd converge creating a vibratory atmosphere where the drink of choice is bottled water – and lots of it. Not everybody burns calories at House in the Park, but all leave feeling happy.
This guy was so flexible he could bend over backwards and touch his head to the ground without hands. At first he told me he charges $10 per photo. But I didn’t have any money so he let me take his picture for free. Everybody is generous at House in the Park.
DJs Kemit and Kai Alce, along with the other DJs not pictured here, take turns spinning the groove. Their day was long. Set up started around 10:30am. The music began at Noon and didn’t end until 8:30pm. Then the DJs broke down their set up and headed to the after party which began at 10pm at a local club where they spun until about 3am.
Dancing makes people hungry and for those who forgot to bring a picnic there was Sister E.O.'s spread. A plate of fried chicken, potato salad, mac & cheese and greens was four dollars, or one side dish for a dollar.
This artist’s canvas was blank when the party started at Noon. But by 5 o’clock he had captured the spirit and movement of the dancing crowd in living color. He wanted to finish the painting by the end of the party but he lost too much sun light by 7:30pm.
Deirdre Oakley is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Georgia State University and Editor of Social Shutter. You can contact her at email@example.com. To view more photographs of House in the Park, log on to our Facebook page.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
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Deirdre and Angie