Many of the places I photograph are old, funky and time worn. Growing up in the mid-atlantic area of the east coast, I was lucky enough to live near old docks, warehouses and historic towns and could visit on a daily basis. Old neighborhoods where generations had lived and worked — timeless in a sense. Salt-encrusted, rusty, paint peeling waterfront buildings that were kept in a state of arrested decay, because of their unique charm or story.
I gained an appreciation for those old places, only after moving out west twenty-some years ago. Much of the midwest had appeared to have gone through some urban-renewal or recent development in the 1980’s. Cities and neighborhoods looked gentrified and lacked any real character. It wasn’t until I settled into the Bay Area, that I began to see a place filled with a rich colorful history and a visually interesting landscape. San Francisco had survived the insanity of the gold rush, an catastrophic earthquake and the 1960’s. The perfect location for a long-term project.
I have been photographing Bay Area landmarks at night, from the funky industrial to the downright weird, for the last 15 years. Old military bases, an aircraft carrier, a power plant, railroads, warehouses and a prison have been the subject of much of my work. I wanted to capture the beauty of sun-bleached colors, oxidized metals, wind-blasted concrete and textured paint and grafitti. I plan to continue this project, until everthing has fallen down, including me.
Deborah Rourke Photography