There is something unique about pictures taken at night, something inspiring in the way a city lights itself when the sun goes down. To me, that is when the characteristics of a city are most uniquely portrayed. With the street lights lit and the downtown workers gone, there is a stillness and quiet that falls over the city that allows anyone who cares to look and listen closely to learn more about their surroundings. I have chosen nighttime to capture the part of the unique spirit of the city of Rochester.
Rochester is a city that has been going through some major changes. It is a city that once made its name (and still does to a lesser extent) in traditional imaging with companies like Kodak, Bausch & Lomb and Xerox. The city itself is no longer a pretty picture representative of this old fame now that many of these companies have lost their once untouchable places in their industries -- most notable being Kodak, and its ferocious worker cutbacks in recent years, as it struggles to stay afloat in its constantly changing business. The infrastructures of the many industries that at one time were vital to the city’s survival are disappearing, vacant or lying decrepit, as a new and not so substantial city grows up around it. Presently, there is nothing that can sustain the city and give jobs to its residents as there once was. The numbers on crime, drugs, homicide, homelessness and prostitution are high and vacant buildings reside on many blocks.
What I present here is not an attempt in anyway to chart this decline but a statement about Rochester from my point of view: the bad with the good, the old with the new. From the tall buildings to dark alleys, the residents and the young people going clubbing and the all-too-common homeless, this city is a living, breathing thing. This is the city as I have experienced it so far.