26 imagesFor several decades now, America's industrial heartland has declined. The devolution from Industrial Belt to Rust Belt has proved an enormous tragedy. Factories, businesses, and neighborhoods went abandoned in the wake of deindustrialization, devastating lives and transforming landscapes. This is my testimony to the industrial cities and towns of the Midwest.
16 imagesYoungstown, Ohio is often presented in photography as a desolate place filled with decaying buildings—a post-apocalyptic landscape presumably bereft of humans. Recently, the Brookings Institution listed Youngstown as having the highest concentrated poverty rate of any city in the country. There are over 5,000 vacant properties in the city; and Youngstown has one of the highest per capita murder rates in the U.S. I was born in Youngstown, but I have spent most of my life outside of the city. Three years ago I returned to find my hometown in a state of severe depression. I responded by using my camera to document the blight and decay I saw all around me, trying to understand what had happened here. My interest in Youngstown soon spread to the stories of people trying to make the city a better place. This work focuses on a different aspect of Youngstown: the underrepresented people and communities in the area. Activists, cultural groups, the youth of Youngstown, and the faces of neighborhood residents, represent a Youngstown many outside of the city will never see.