Saturday, November 19, 2005

Out of the Closet

I've been "outed."

No I'm not a Lesbian. I'm using Wikipedia's more general definition:

The term can also be used in a more general sense as meaning to make public a fact about a person which the person wants kept secret. For instance, one may "out" someone as a communist (political), or a Jew (racial).

I've been "outed" as a photographer of my neighborhood, the Sixth Ward, Houston, Texas. Here's the story:

We live in a neighborhood very near downtown Houston. Some call it funky, some call it Victorian, some call it eclectic. I call it wonderful. Within the four by six or so block area that it encompasses there are 800 to 3000+ square foot houses, wonderfully restored Victorian houses, craftsman bungalows, shotgun houses, neglected rental houses, homes in need of leveling, repair and paint, motorcycle shop, neighborhood grocery store, lawyer's offices, some new metal sided houses, on. But the thing that I love about the 'hood is that it isn't a homogeneous subdivision. There is individuality in every house. In every yard.

I didn't start out to photograph the neighborhood because of this, I started photographing it about 3 years ago because I had a new camera and I wanted to test it out so I took it out for a walk. Then another day I went walking and took a few more pictures, another day....more. Gradually I realized I was seeing the neighborhood in a unique way through the lens of my camera. I haven't gone on anyone's property, just photographed from the street or sidewalk.

I loved the photographs and I put them in a gallery on pbase. I kind of figured that one or two neighbors had found them from "googling" Old Sixth Ward but I wasn't sure I was really ready to go public in the 'hood with them. I was thinking about how I would ask to go into yards and maybe even into the houses to photograph. I was thinking about how I would get releases if I should ever want to show the work in a gallery or wondering if I could make a personal book of the images. Because of some issues in our neighborhood I was afraid that I would run into a firestorm so I was just keeping quiet.

But today one of my neighbors who had found the images and liked them, told everyone by way of the neighborhood yahoo email group. So far nothing negative has happened.

Still I feel "outed."

On the other hand, maybe this is the break I need to get into the backyard or even the kitchen...ooooh....I'd like to photograph the kitchens.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

By the way, the picture of Brett's antique firetruck.... she has a name.... it's "Ruby".

Sorry to "out" you... they are beautiful images.