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Holyoke Rising

October 24, 2010

Found Lotus, Holyoke, 2010

My Photojournalism class has started going into reclaimed Holyoke to see what gems lie in the newly kindled city.

Deconstructing Holyoke, 2010

On Friday we fieldtripped down to Quantum on the lower canal where there are 16 acres of factories that are evolving and devolving daily.

Re-imagining Holyoke, 2010

The class explores in small groups like visual anthropologists watching history dissolve. And like archeologists, we move slowly, sector by sector through the newly exposed landscape.

Lowlands, Holyoke, 2010

This is a landscape ripe for re-invention.

Post-Industrial Holyoke, 2010

I don’t want you to think that Holyoke is all about “ruin porn.” Last night I was walking from gallery to gallery for the four art openings that were happening. At one point I heard a girl walking with a small group saying, “I feel like I’m Batman cruising through Gotham City at midnight.”

Reconstructing Holyoke, 2010

This picture was taken at the entrance to Gallery 380R. As I exposed the photograph, a woman leaning next to me said, “if you think this is beautiful, go down to the bridge on the next block and photograph the lights from there.”

The transfiguration of urban Holyoke echoes my experience picturing the cities of the Former Soviet Union. The scars of post-industrial disillusionment are apparent, but huddled throughout the previously abandoned landscapes are enclaves of energy and possibility.

Holyoke Street School, 2010

The old Street School seems to be my landmark of choice when I am photographing downtown. Too bad it is all chopped up inside with many small, convoluted spaces. Right now my classes are photographing outdoors. As the winter comes along we will be looking for a few warm rooms. Otherwise, our fieldtrip theme will be- Have space heater, will travel.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 24, 2010 8:51 pm

    Frank, I would like for you to take a few minutes and visit the second floor gallery of Open Square. There is a body of work I would like you to see and feel you would appreciate in terms of use of space, bodily presence, and the logistics of Holyoke. It is drawing on the aesthetics of the environment and incorporation of the human form.

    I have always appreciated you taking your classes out into Holyoke. You are witnessing the rebirth of the city as a contemporary. I often hope to run into your class while you are shooting, hasn’t happened yet.

  2. October 25, 2010 11:15 am

    Jeff, I hope to get to Open square with my class. How long will your show be up?

  3. October 27, 2010 5:18 pm


    Both 2nd floor and 4th exhibits will be up until December.

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