Confrontation with the Monster We've Collectively Created by Colin Blakely
Currently residing in: Ann Arbor, MI
As I have gotten older, I have turned more and more towards the familiar for inspiration and subject matter in my photographs.
In the most basic sense, this project is about the 400 and 500 blocks of Keech Avenue, an examination of my immediate surroundings. Bordered on one side by Michigan Stadium and by Almendinger Park on the other, both entities play an important role in the identity of the neighborhood.
My photographs depict this street and the people that inhabit it—both the ones that live here and the ones that visit. Some I know quite well, others are complete strangers. Overall, the work tells the story of a community that is holding on to a vanishing way of life. It is about a group of people living quite literally in Middle America—geographically, economically, politically—at a time when our notions concerning what this means are quickly changing. Having shunned the constant call of the suburbs, we live in a small neighborhood close to downtown. Here, the passing of time is defined as much by the rituals we collectively participate in as by the months on a calendar. This work is a celebration of and possibly a eulogy to our way of life.
I was born in Brooklyn, NY, but moved to Houston, TX earlier on in my childhood, and remained there until college. My earliest memories concerning my interest in photography center around my mother and her ongoing endeavors as a serious amateur photographer. My first real explorations in photography began as one of two yearbook photographers for my high school. I don't know when my interest turned into an obsession, as it snuck up on me over the years. Sometime towards the end of college I stopped being able to imagine doing anything with my life that did not involve photography. After receiving a BA from Williams College in Massachusetts I went on to teach middle school for several years before returning for an MFA from the University of New Mexico. Currently, I am a professor of photography at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, MI.