I made this photograph while walking through Broad Ripple Village, the heart of the Broad Ripple neighborhood in Indianapolis. You can’t photograph this same scene anymore, because this building no longer exists.
Broad Ripple Village is undergoing a transformation. Large apartment buildings with first-floor retail are replacing entire blocks of older buildings that hail from the Village’s salad days as a north Indianapolis suburb and, before that, a town in its own right. The whole 30 years I’ve lived in central Indiana, it’s been a popular place to live because of its early- and mid-20th-century homes and plenty of attractive amenities. Developers have finally broken in and are densifying the population with their construction projects. I hardly recognize the place anymore.
I’ve been driving and walking around making photographs in earnest since 2006. That doesn’t seem like that long ago, but a lot can change in the built environment in 17 years. I sometimes drive along roads I documented many years ago and am blown away by how different everything looks. Roads are rerouted, bridges are removed and built anew, old buildings are demolished, and new buildings are built.
A blogging friend from Toronto who doesn’t post very often anymore used to share photographs he found of places outside the city proper from the 1950s, followed by photos he made of the same places at that time. It was fascinating to follow that series. Most of those long-ago photos were made by one man who apparently made it his mission to document what was then rural territory. He created a terrific record.
I may be inadvertently creating a similar record around Indiana as I take my road trips with a camera in my hand, and as I walk about with my old film cameras looking for things to photograph. I hope my work is useful to someone many decades from now, as well.
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