Gary, Indiana was the most American of all cities, a community built in the early 1900’s with the vision of United States Steel on a foundation of industrial labor and pride. Since the reindustrialization of US Steel in 1960’s, the subsequent recessions in the 1970’s and 1980’s and ensuing reduction in capacity and job losses, the proud working past of Gary gave way to the disillusionment of urban decay it is today. This urban decay has been a colossal obstacle to sustainable prosperity in the community and its barrier to recovery.
The image of urban decay is visible on every level in the form of functional impoverishment, destitute and ruinous housing, delinquency and crime. The architectural grandeur and infrastructure of Gary have been left to rot, its homes and buildings left condemned and in ruins. It is a plight both unimaginable and so relatively unacknowledged, except for by those few still clinging to hope and for whom it is still home.
The bold, graphic images in “Gary: In Ruins” are alarmingly depressing whilst being eerily beautiful and in every sense deeply contemplative. This series is my portrayal of the dream that was to become a nightmare and the acknowledgment that the dream is still alive for some.