All photographs © 1969-2023, Carl Weese
Baldwin Street, in Waterbury, CT, meanders for about two and a half miles, extending south from Main Street at the center of the city. The terrain is hilly. It’s largely a residential district with some small businesses. Most of the houses are substantial old buildings that have been divided up into multiple apartments. I’d made a few pictures there over the years as part of my project of photographing the old industrial towns along the Naugatuck River Valley. In 2020 I formed a plan to photograph intensively along Baldwin Street, concentrating entirely on the buildings, cars, small business properties, while not including people in the pictures. Partly, this was a response to the pandemic and social distancing. Especially by working early in the morning I could easily avoid close contact with anyone, and didn’t have to touch anything but my camera and my car. Also, I think sometimes we can show a lot about a place without including its residents. What people have made and use in their daily lives—those buildings, cars, shop windows—can form their own sort of portrait. Most of these pictures were shot between early Autumn of 2020 and late Autumn of 2021.
In 2004 I acquired my first digital SLR camera, for a large assignment that the publisher required be shot digitally. I quickly found that I loved many aspects of working this way. I’d always worked in color as well as black and white for both personal projects and assignments, but was never really happy with darkroom color prints. Over the next couple of years I made a lot of pictures with this Olympus E1 outfit on shooting trips that centered on my Drive-in Theater and White Churches large format b&w projects. Recently I decided to revisit the archive of this work and select thirty or so pictures for printing. Hardware (the printer) materials (baryta style photo paper) and software (the current version of Adobe Camera Raw) have vastly improved since 2005, so I found I could make better prints than 15 years ago. Since the E1 files are so small, they still look best as modest size prints, around 6.5x8.5 inches. Next I assembled this web gallery to make the work available here on my site.