Democracy

June 25, 2014

BW photo of campaign signs for local offices.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

June 26, 2014 was a primary election day in 7 states and by all accounts voter turnout in Maryland was quite low.  Dan Rodricks of the Baltimore Sun starts with a very important point and then continues with others in this article.

Take care.

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Facades

June 16, 2014

Looking up Patrick Street at the building facades-in B&W.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Things are often not as they appear to be.

Building facades being supported by iron beams - in B&W.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Simply getting off the main street and walking back an alley provides an entirely different perspective on some of these “buildings”; one which I only had because of a conversation with a local citizen who described the history of the structures.  It is through broadening one’s knowledge by examining a subject or situation from as many sources and sides as possible can one develop an informed assessment.

There are many cultural references with regard to facades, including the ages old saying “Do not judge a book by its cover” and the social construct of stereotypes.  The movie The Breakfast Club is an excellent example and is worth a watch and to think about the film in this context.  At the beginning, the five students are presented in their stereotypical glory and it is not at all difficult to suss out which role each plays within their high school. These facades, though, begin to erode over the course of their day in detention through the gradual risk-taking that comes with sharing meaningful information.  As the masks they wear crumble, the students find much commonality and appear to form very different relationships with each other than those with which they began the day.  In the end, one is left to wonder what exactly does happen on the Monday they return to school as all of those statuses and corresponding facades bring with them social capital that could be hard to leave behind.

Building facades being supported by iron beams - closer view - in B&W.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Indeed, some reinforcement would be needed in order to maintain whichever social positions they choose to keep.

And so it goes with global issues as well.  Given the number of conflicts currently in the world, the ability to see past facades and treat people as people instead of commodities to be exploited for power or as stereotypes or social constructs to be vilified, for example, Sunni vs. Shia, Hutu vs. Tutsi, Israeli vs. Palestinian, Christian vs. Muslim, Democrat vs. Republican, rich vs. poor, etc., and develop meaningful relationships (substitute “and” for “vs.” in the aforementioned pairings) to solve common problems would be a major step forward for all.

Yes, this is simplistic and reductionist.  However, that does not diminish the critical importance of developing personal relationships through meaningful dialogue so as to move past the walls of difference (and indifference) that have been erected.  It is with certainty that the really big global problems we are all facing, climate change and poverty to name two, really do not discriminate based on such distinctions.

Take care.

 

Symbolism and Perception

June 14, 2014

Chain overlapping a syringe on concrete block.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

This is likely one of the most symbolic photographs I have made as the two main compositional elements complement each other in such a way as to suggest a particular interaction.

It was the chain that first caught my attention and it was only after stopping to look more closely that I saw the syringe.  Having been a former chemical dependency counselor, my first impression was that it was the remains from an episode of IV drug use, for example, heroin, in which case the chain then serves as the metaphor for addiction.  However, it is important to recognize just how strongly prior life experiences often influence current perceptions and one must take care not to jump to conclusions based on a single bit of data.  After all, there is no hard evidence linking this particular syringe to drug use.  It is also possible that it had been used in the management of diabetes, and in that scenario, the chain represents the (often) life-long issue of disease management.

In either case, what is suggested is the inexorable anchoring that diseases create for those experiencing them.

There is, of course, at least one major difference between IV drug use and diabetes.  For the former, the needle serves as a continuation-for the latter, mitigation.

Take care.

 

Rehabilitation

June 9, 2014

Stairs in old apartment building.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Having worked as a chemical dependency counselor for the first 10 years of my professional career, I have some knowledge of the process of rehabilitation.  It is interesting that the steps involved are very similar whether discussing people or buildings.

Three doors in an apartment building being rehabbed.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

When done successfully, doors that otherwise would be closed, begin to open.

Wall-mounted intercom unit in old apartment.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The process usually begins with some form of communication.  If a building is going to be rehabbed, someone must identify the structure(s) involved and file the necessary forms and permits with the appropriate housing authority.  If it is a person, then some form of dialogue between folks or some type of internal discussion within the individual must be had.

Debris and old furniture in apartment being rehabbed.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

This initial step will allow for a sorting through of the debris that has accumulated over time and the taking of an inventory…

Apartment bathroom under rehab.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

which can then illuminate…

Disconnected radiator valve in old apartment being rehabbed.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

the bits that are broken…

Sink in bathroom being rehabbed.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

and those that may be of continued use. After all, it is of great importance to identify that which can be part of the solution as well as identifying that which contributes to the problem.  This is a vital step as a cursory review may only lead to the…

Remaining wallpaper in apartment being rehabbed.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

stripping away of the surface layers…

Piping and wires in old apartment being rehabbed.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

while it is often the inner workings that contain the real issues whose reparations are the key to continued health and serviceability.

The photographs in this post were made in one of the apartments in a building owned by Cass Community Services.  This particular project is being completed so that the apartments may be used for long-term housing for residents of the city of Detroit.

Take care.