This has been a brutal summer for Portland. So many days with temperatures in the 90s. All the grass turned brown early, and our gardens became crinkly. Walking down NE Alberta Street, the lack of older trees adds to the pulsating street heat. But not this morning. This morning the puddles are back and the petrichor is a welcome gift.
This photograph was made for a shadow assignment – I’m taking an Understanding Light class at New Space Center for Photography. I’ve also been trying to make a good picture of that beautiful blue wall for many months. The light has not been right until this morning.
Throughout this hot, hot summer I regularly walked by a new mural in progress at the Black United Fund of Oregon’s building. For many years, I’ve wondered what happens in the drab, fortress-like building on the corner of NE 28th and Alberta. The making of the mural inspired me to learn more about the organization, and it’s history is impressive. At some point I’ll write a longer post about the Black United Fund of Oregon. In the meantime, you can read more here: Black United Fund Summer Mural Project
For a while this empty lot was home to some carnival activities during Last Thursday. Eventually a fence went up and the back walls were painted brown. A perfect canvass for graffiti. The walls are painted and the graffiti returns. The tags seem more considered than in other parts of the street, and the dead, brown grass is a suitable frame.
I started looking through my collection of Walk on Alberta photos and realized I’ve got a pretty good record of the ever-changing walls in that empty lot.
I’m starting to get a little bit fond of the graffiti on the street. It’s vandalism, of course, but the tags do add visual interest particularly when making photographs of the street most days. I’ve also started noticing graffiti when I travel. On a recent trip to Mexico City I found myself making photos of the graffiti there. It’s not so different.