Untitled (Neightborhood, Rancho Santa Margarita, September 2015) copyright 2015 Douglas Stockdale
One of things I enjoy are my walks around the neighborhood. During which, I like to photograph the things that I find interesting. Sometimes after a while the things I have photographed start to hint at something that I might not be aware of or eventually lead to a more specific project. I do not have a specific project right now from my various walks, other than I am usually in a neighborhood. Thus I have loosely been collecting the resulting singular images in a folder with that title.
So what is a neighborhood and why might this be interesting to me? To use contemporary terminology; a neighborhood is an urban collection of man-build structures. The structures are relatively permanent, lasting for 50 to 200 years and in some places, perhaps hundreds of years. These are dwellings in which people take up residence and transform a house into to a home. Thus indirectly, the structures embody the local social culture and by observing the structures, we might obtain some insights about that culture, or just maybe, some interesting photographs about our culture.
For the most part my urban neighborhood photographs do not include any people. Not that I am unsocial, it is just difficult for me to include people in my neighborhood photographs. I also understand this, so it is something that I have been thinking a lot about. Looking at many photographs by others, seems there are two basic camps; photographs with and those without people.
So why this neighborhood photograph interesting to me? I notice that most homes have a public persona and possibly a private place, a sanctuary if you might. Both how the public persona and private sanctuary’s are constructed and maintained are interesting as a reflection of our local culture. This photograph includes someones back-yard, perhaps only a small porch area, which is directly adjacent to a public walkway and street with a constant amount lot foot and car traffic. It reminds me of the old saying “good fences make good neighbors”, sometimes modified to “tall fences make good neighbors”.