Director of Photography Kevin Fletcher is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography. From the project ‘Avenue of Roses’. To see Kevin’s body of work, click on any image.
All of these photographs were taken on a single street in Portland, Oregon – a heavily travelled route that thousands of people navigate every day. Often derided and by some even considered ugly, it is not known for its ease or hospitality, but nonetheless, it is a necessary and functional part of the city. Like many photographers before me (Robert Adams, Stephen Shore, Narelle Autio, and William Eggleston, to name just a few), I am drawn to the sublime beauty and stories that exist in places like this; places so normal, so daily, and so banal that we tend to overlook them.
The Avenue of Roses is less than a mile from my house; its title is far prettier than its reputation. It is the northern end of the Cascade Highway, and also carries the less poetic name of 82nd Ave. It used to be the rural outer edge of the city. However, consistent urban growth has tsunamied right up to and over it creating a taught rope of pavement compressed on both sides by gentrification and increased housing prices. It has also become a socio-political line that divides the inner portions of the city, epitomized by ‘green’ modernization and increasing wealth, from the perimeter neighborhoods that don’t benefit in the same way.
This project is a look into my backyard – a look at my city. A documentary about 82nd Avenue against the backdrop of Portland’s rampant urban growth and a look at how we, as denizens, have at times prospered, but have also suffered from it. Every city in the world has an “avenue of roses”: a place depicting the multi-layered relationships humans have with their constructed environments and urban landscapes. A place reflecting the socioeconomic strata of the broader city, and a place that speaks not only to isolation and disenfranchisement, but also speaks to how communities come together within these complex spaces. Welcome to the Avenue of Roses.
All images and text © Kevin Fletcher
By Kevin Fletcher
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