No matter how many times I stroll through the alleys in Mount Vernon, the lyric of these narrow liminal spaces always trips my senses. I love the old brick walkway and buildings, dipping and cracked due to the silty fill, their uneven settling. I am fascinated by the textures, the collection of dumpsters, stuff piled in the back-stoop storage. And after a rain I love how the alley resonates silence and melancholy.
Alleys fascinate me. As liminal spaces, betwixt and between, neither-this-nor-that, these pathways that thread between buildings have intricate histories. Alleys have existed in virtually every urban culture and location in the world in some form or another for at least two thousand years, and often were bustling urban places. Neglected, they turned into scuzzy and sometimes dangerous places that became forbidden territory.
These days there is a move to revitalize our alleys. Surely, the effort to clean them up and give them a face lift is laudable. But some things that make alleys so interesting to me will be erased and paved over. What is now will be gone.
Photography is always dealing with the momentary, and by accepting change I open myself to new moments. These moments of attentiveness are all we have, these and the photographs that remember the characteristics of the place that held my attention.