Oakland Beautiful A constant experiment in terms of its architectural environment, the city that was once the land of pastoral orchards and farms as Gertrude Stein remembers it is also the land of buildings. Having gone through a gold rush, postwar industrial and in the midst of a shipping era, Oakland has changed its built environment through out the 20th century to meet its civic needs. This is evident in the city’s early transformation during the early 1900’s from its Victorian country like aesthetic to the more worldly architectural styles during our countries modernization. From it's emerald green Art Deco edifices to it's highly ornate theaters, Oakland, California is a menagerie of buildings that exists as memories in time as well utilitarian domiciles and office buildings that continue to serve it’s residents. The Oakland Beautiful photographs whose title pays homage the City Beautiful or Beaux Art movement during the 1890's and 1900's, was a personal journey through the urban landscape of downtown Oakland. Having been raised in an urban setting much like Oakland, the opportunity to explore the city with an almost tourist like curiosity during the night was an existential exercise. The city's rich architectural heritage and built environment served as ideal subject matter for my preferred work method. Often working alone, it is sometimes during the midnight hours that I find moments solace. The night time hours are perfect for observing details, undisturbed by the busyness of city life it’s during the night that shapes, light and texture can be photographed in a manner that show their progression in time. The photographs are meant to show the viewer an intimate, almost dream like vignette of Oakland's architectural history. Through black and white photographs, mostly soft and imperfect due to their traditional film format, it is the viewers responsibly to connect the images to the different areas in and around the city of Oakland through memories and past experiences. Having been working in commercial photography, I find great comfort in creating images that are not always technically perfect, allowing a certain hand made craft to show. It was through the print process and digital manipulation of the traditional silver based medium that I chose a deep rich palette of shadows and highlights that would resemble those of early photographs.
All photographs are individually printed and framed in the bay area and available for purchase through www.bgpix.net BG