I was planning on doing a general post on the upcoming FotoWeekDC Nov. 9-18, the brainchild of the engaging and ever-charming Theo Adamstein, with whom I’ve had the great pleasure of working with in the past. But then I glommed on to the gallery page for Uncover/Discover, an event dedicated to, well, uncovering and discovering the work of local photographers. More than 200 regional photographers submitted work for consideration, and 10 were chosen to be on display in this exhibit.
And of those 10, I particularly fell in love with the soulful architectural images of Baltimore photographer Ben Marcin.
He shoots images of houses—not ones you would find in the glossy magazines, but ones that have seen better days, yet still retain a sort of ruined beauty. Here are some from a study he’s done on “solo row houses,” an oxymoron of course, but yet:
These singular blocks remind me of an old structure near where the new NPR building is downtown, where the front wall was oddly stripped off and you could see all the little rooms inside what used to be some sort of rooming house. The walls of the rooms were different colors and there was still furniture in them, a bed here, a lamp there. Wire hangers hanging on the backs of doors. Like a life-sized dollhouse.
Here is what Ben has to say about these images, which were shot in Baltimore and Camden, NJ (the above images are in Baltimore): “I looked specifically for single row houses that had been physically connected to other row houses at one time but were now lone sentinels standing against the ravage of time and the economy.”
Ben also has a series on homes in rural towns in Maryland and Delaware—the same kind we see on the roads we take to get out to the beach, where I always wonder who inhabited them in their glory days, and how they ended up in their current state.
Ben must have traveled similar rural roads to the beach, because he also has a series of images taken from condos in Ocean City, MD—he shoots them with no context, creating these wonderful geometric forms while also capturing the faceless quantity of dwellings on that sliver of land by the beach:
For me, FotoWeekDC has already done its job—opened my eyes to local photographers I hadn’t known about before. As the festival begins its fifth year, it’s turned into a major international event, but at its heart, at least for those of us who live here, it aims to celebrate local talent. I will certainly be going with my kids to see all the different venues, from photojournalism to the youth competition to fine art photography and the growing art of iPhone-ography. I hope you will go, too, and discover new photography that speaks to you.