In 2013 I gave myself a photo assignment. Pick 13 subjects, and take 13 snapshots of each… 13x13x13. At some point during the project I decided it’d be much more interesting to open this assignment to anyone who wants to participate. I’m glad I did. The following series of 13 comes from local photographer Arleen Hodge . These are portraits of 13 Rochesterians she’s met on the streets. Arleen says she is grateful to call these people her “friends.”
“They all have stories and they are truly a great bunch of men who are suffering another facet of the human condition,” Arleen reasons. “When I’m shooting underground for a night, these guys look out for me. There are those who are quick to judge… but these would be the guys to jump in and save your life.”
I can think of no better subject for this merry time of year – and less than a week after we were forced to face the facts; that Rochester stands as the fifth poorest city in the United States. It’s not just a city problem. According to that report by The Rochester Area Community Foundation, 160,000 people living within the nine-county region are living in poverty. These are our neighbors. Our friends. These could easily be portraits of you or me…
Let me just preface this. Those of you who follow RochesterSubway.com know I am not trying to bring back the Subway—although if Mayor Duffy announced its re-opening tomorrow I’d promptly nominate him to be crowned King of Rochester. My mission is plainly stated at the bottom of every page on this site. I support any initiative that will improve the quality of life for all Rochesterians. A bike lane here or there. Perhaps a few good grocery stores downtown, etc. etc. My goal is to get Rochester thinking about the possibilities and to spark public dialogue.
Most of the feedback I get from my readers is very positive and I’ve had a lot of great ideas thrown my way. But for every 20 people I hear from, there’s usually one person who’s… well… a real visionary. This month’s award goes to Christine B. from Rochester. In fact, I may have to name the award after her. Christine makes the assumption that I am out to garnish her paycheck and use it to bring back the Rochester Subway. And oh boy is she P.O.’d!
A word of caution before you read her monologue… if you’re a Kodak employee, a “liberal”, unemployed, gay, or if you are homeless, some of Christine’s ideas may offend you. But if you read between the lines, I’m sure you’ll see where she’s going with this line of thought. Oh, and PLEASE share your opinions in the comments. I know Christine will appreciate your feedback…
After the Erie Canal was rerouted south of downtown Rochester, the Rochester
Industrial & Rapid Transit Railway (the subway) was built in
its place as a link between the five different railroads and interurban trolley
lines that served the Rochester area. As the industrial landscape of Rochester
changed, and highways replaced the railroads, the Rochester subway gradually
became a relic of a bygone era. In 1956 the subway was abandoned and much of
its route was converted into Interstate 490 built to connect Rochester
with the New York State Thruway (I-90). Read more about the history of the Rochester Subway.
RochesterSubway.com exists to help spark
public dialogue around how we can better connect the neighborhoods of Rochester
NY, surrounding communities, and their cultural offerings. Rochesters
future is written in her past. Let's rediscover it.