Grassroots Urban Renewal

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Untitled Broom Waltz

Skateboarders are sometimes thought of as inconsiderate, reckless misfits rebelliously occupying the urban landscape.  Not so I say.  Recently while exploring a large North Carolina city industrial area, I found this group of lads feverishly tiding up a large abandoned concrete lot.  The golden hour was almost upon me, so I was quite excited to see this dramatically lit group working in an industrial setting.

Team of Three
Team of Three

As I approached the lot, I introduced myself and asked if I could take pictures.  They agreed.  I asked if they were cleaning up to make way for a skate park.  They acknowledged as such, but asked me not to publicize.  That’s why I haven’t disclosed the name of the city.  Their view, “we’ll cleanup the trash, broken glass and other hazards in this vacant lot as gesture of good will towards the community.  In return, we’ll respectfully use the lot as a skateboard park.”  “Sounds like a win-win,” I said.

Final Sweep
Final Sweep

My black & white workflow usually ends with post processing in Alien Skin’s Exposure 7.  I love the Agfa APX 100 black & white film emulation.  After a few tweaks to the preset, it almost always delivers a pleasing boost in contrast, and the grain structure emulation follows the fine grain characteristic of the stock film. The resulting grain effect is subtle, while still delivering an old school feel.

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