Some interesting photographs of our fair city.
These are the times they need help. I know some of you want to volunteer with me. Who/when?
A set of 45 fantastic images by the former Baltimore Sun photojournalist turned editor. They capture a wide range of life in Baltimore from the late sixties through the eighties — everything from local sports to the riots of ‘68.
Weyman Swagger worked for the Sun for 47 years. He died of cancer at the age of 66 on March 28th.
Perlman Place is a desolate little side street off North Avenue in East Baltimore. I’ve taken pictures there on several occasions over the last few years and nothing much has changed in that time. Finally it was announced that these rows are to be torn down as it is considered the most blighted block in the city.
My friend Mike (boyghost on tumblr and flickr) and I recently revisited the place. As of when these photos were taken, only a single row had been torn down, but a lot of the plywood that usually blocks the entrances to long broken windows and doors, was also removed, which allowed us to see inside a lot of these places. Even though there are thousands upon thousands of abandoned buildings here, buildings are usually well sealed, or at least sealed to someone like me.
I’ve never gotten used to the state of things in Baltimore… that there can be so much desolation and that the best that is usually done is to tear things down. However, there is a regularity to seeing boarded up rowhomes day after day. There was definitely an intimacy to being able to peek inside these places and see staircases and wallpaper, TVs and beds. As silly as it sounds, it truly makes me sad to see the insides of these places. I don’t feel nostalgic for what was, but I am very much disheartened by the current state of being for so many people who are stuck in a neighborhood like this.
This is actually a good location when you think about it. It’s close to a park and a few busy streets. There is beautiful and historic architecture all around here. In many ways there is more of a sense of community in a place like this than there is in often sterile and vacuous suburbia, where most neighbors hardly know each other, or even for that matter in my last apartment building, where it was often difficult to get something as basic as a friendly greeting from someone you met in the hall. Here, you see people outside, sitting on their steps, talking to each other, kids playing. All of this is good, but a quick glance in a neighborhood like this tells you very quickly that it’s not enough to make it all work.
There’s no money except for in the sale of drugs or in the befuddled national effort to prevent that sale. There isn’t a free market incentive to make this neighborhood work, so it rots and we all lose out.
My Most Important Picture
Flickr user gerwise used to own a photo supply store on the 2000 block of E. Monument Street. Back then, the neighborhood was a much different place than it is today. The expansion of the Johns Hopkins Campus has prompted some fixing up of the area… but back in 1972, the area was mom-and-pop retail and formstone rowhomes — much like McElderry Park, Collington Square and Madison-East End that surround Monument Street today.
Back in the day, gerwise was getting robbed a lot, and always by the same guy. To catch a thief, he rigged up a motion picture video camera and a couple Leica rangefinders, and focused them on the till. When the thief robbed him again, he was ready with photographic evidence.
This is a Baltimore Sun article from 1972 that runs down Mr. Wiseman’s ingenuity, and how it put a criminal behind bars for 15 years. Please click through for a larger version.