This file holds a photo book that my self and my classmates collaborated together to make, below is my explanation of it.
This photo book encapsulates the very idea of commercialization and the progress of society as well as its ability to fall into disrepair and be taken over by nature. Focusing on the archival images of Flagler as this elite vacation resort in the coastal regions of northeast Florida and now the very school in which our classes are held creates an immediate contrast. Staring into the black-and-white images of a time far gone we begin to see the groundwork of what this book is attempting to show, the effects of excess and tourism. The earlier times of Flagler would be looked at with wonder as a technological and economic hub. Far different from other cities within Florida or even within the United States.
Fast forwarding quickly and the streets are now a crowded mess of tourism and filled with individuals from all around the states. Out-of-county schools, organizations, companies, and the everyday person can be seen wandering the streets of St. Augustine camera in hand. With over 5.9 million people traveling between December 23rd and January 2nd of nights of lights on average spending over $500 a day, this billion-dollar tourism industry has attracted people from all around the country. This book shows the subsequent waste and change that comes from this influx of people. It shows the massive shift in the makeup of the neighborhoods from standard homes to Airbnb and new construction.
The price of homes has increased dramatically in the last year alone, average homes in St Johns County are selling for over $500,000 which is over a $100,000 more since last November. This increase in housing costs and taxes has pushed many people out of their homes allowing even more people to come in to rebuild and charge even more for the houses left behind.
This inequity is shown in the extravagant decorations and style seen all throughout the city while as beautiful as they may seem they are sharply contrasted by the neglect and overgrown areas scattered throughout St Augustine. Be that through the disheveled looked of homes or the many homeless that live on the streets or even the horses kept to the side that keep the carriage rides going through the stress. I found myself wanting to capture what I believe is the most important part of all this; the desire for greed and the push for expansion for nothing more than a paycheck.
Many of the photos I took were focused on this idea of expansion construction and consumerism. The focus of cash essentially is what leads to this tragedy of commons. This is hard to capture and why I found Jeff Wall to be one of the most interesting photographers. While his photography is staged, it is to portray a message that was hard to capture. After all of us have wandered around St Augustine I'm sure many will understand the issues and growing inequalities that are all around us.
However, capturing those in a single image is nearly impossible and takes perfect timing unless of course you are setting up the image. While Jeff Wall may have been choreographing all his photographs. They were choreographed based on something he or others were seeing in real life, and I think that is a way in which photography has to present itself in some ways. A way in which to tell a story in a photo and ensure that the viewer gets the point.
One of my greatest challenges was simply finding the time to really capture everything that was going on. Which is interesting considering that's the very reason most of this is going on in the first place. Many of us are so caught up in our daily lives we do not take the time to take a simple look around. We do not take time to understand the way things are shifting and instead focus on making a life for ourselves to live, we allow tragedies to go on around us. Even the time I did give was only a fraction of what is needed to give light to the problems that lay in front of us. Yet through this collaboration of students and guidance of an instructor an amazing book was made. A book that brings light and focus to the immense history that St Augustine has and that while it may be beautiful it was built on the backs of others, and this continues to be the case.