The light is so short these days the only photos I can go out and get after the wife comes home from work are these cliché sunset pictures, and I won't be able to get very many of those much longer. I did find a long-established scrapper encampment within dogwalking distance of our house, and I actually started talking to some of these guys. For all my trashtalk, they're generally hardworking, self-reliant, harmless guys. Anyone who can survive subzero winter nights in makeshift shelters with nothing but ratty coats and a pile of blankets deserves some respect.

Having gone through a few buildings set to be demolished in the near future that hadn't yet been fully scrapped, I have to say that I'd rather these guys go in and remove everything of value and recycle it rather than having it all go to a landfill.


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This is just a teaser for an upcoming post I'm going to have to write about my most depressing visit to an abandoned public school building yet. Seriously, when I got back from this one I brushed the asbestos dust off my jacket and hugged my kids until both of them were like, "WTF, dude?"

I don't plan on identifying the school or showing any more of the hundreds of photos I took there until I've had a chance to try to contact the former principal or representatives from the district about some things I saw inside.


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Gram at nine months

Posted by jdg | 11:31 AM | ,





Such a happy little buddy. 30 inches. Six teeth. Clapping hands. Climbing stairs.

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There was a baby grand a few feet away still standing on its legs. You could have played it if all the metal hadn't been stripped away.

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The floors in this classroom looked like what you expect the ground to look like during an earthquake, except frozen that way.

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This is one of my favorite pictures from that trip we took to Cincinnati, and if you asked me to explain why I don't think I could. It might have had something to do with the hooker who saved my life. My wife had given me the afternoon to myself to wander wherever I wanted to go (one of my favorite things to do in new cities) and I thought because it was raining I would have a miserable time, but instead I kind of fell in love with the place.

I had just passed a brewery producing those dogfoodish fumes of heated malt, when a woman with an umbrella approached me from the other side of the road. "Where are you going?" she asked.

"I'm just walking."

"Better not go that way. They'll strip you of everything you got. Might kill you too."

"I'll be okay," I said.

"You must have gotten into a fight with your wife," she said, and with that I knew she was a prostitute. I never like to assume that about a woman, but after a few more questions and bristly answers she asked me point blank if I was sure I didn't want a date with her. "I'm sorry," I found myself saying politely. "No thank you." She walked on and eventually disappeared and I was left in the rain by a gated lot filled with cruel-looking dogs. So I turned around and walked back up through Over-the-Rhine, looping back and forth, block after block, awed by the endless Italianate tenement buildings, almost all of them boarded up, and took this photo.


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Leaf Pile

Posted by jdg | 9:44 AM | , ,





God fall went by fast, he thinks as a car shedding snow from its back window passes him on the highway.

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I found a giant mound of rubble in the middle of the prairie---it turned out to be buildings and homes and lampposts that had been bulldozed---and climbed to the top to catch this shot. The car in the center of the picture had driven past me earlier, full of white people ogling what had happened to their old neighborhood.

(see today's post)


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I saw it in the closet the other day and thought I'd give it a try. Lo and behold he was already almost too big for it. Keep in mind his sister was still wearing this until a little over a year ago. It was always my favorite outfit.

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My wife's brother was just in town and I wanted to show him the old book depository/Roosevelt Warehouse. There were at least two groups of photographers in there when we popped in and a bunch of scrappers burning the plastic off the metal wiring that they were still stripping from the building. The air was filled with the smell of burning plastic and the rays of the sunset illuminated the toxins floating through the air. One of the scrappers demanded money from us and I told him I'd been in that building a thousand times and never had to pay a toll, but I got the impression so many kids have been breaking into the place over the past few months that these guys have found a lucrative side business.


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A perfect fall day. . .

Posted by jdg | 10:02 AM






Now go vote (if you haven't already).


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Motor City Story

Posted by jdg | 11:14 AM | , ,





The sunlit ruins in the distance on the right are part of the old Packard assembly plant, where some of America's finest automobiles were built for more than half a century. On the left, automobiles deemed no longer fit for use are crumpled together in massive towers, many of them retaining some hint of the personalities of their previous owners: bumper stickers ("Out of a job yet? Keep buying foreign") and front plates promoting local sports teams or one's preference of fishing over one's current predicament. Between them: a dozen trailers advertising Toyota as the sun sets on the Motor City.

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