Starbucks: 5th & Long Beach Blvd: Downtown Long Beach
Eric and I decided to meet in a totally different location today. Away from the beach, away from the suburban homes and right in the middle of downtown Long Beach. We headed to the Starbucks at 5th and Long Beach Blvd. near the speeding blueline train and across from a shopping area where a street fair was happening. We knew right away that this was going to offer us something different from all our other shoots.
We felt pretty charged to be in a new place and eager to get the 72 minutes started so we headed into the Starbucks and went straight to the newspaper stand. We decided to forego the caffeine and not stand in the long line of people waiting for their morning pick-me-up. The excitement we felt was going to be our fuel this morning. Our word today is “in”.
in: a word that we use many times every day without even thinking about it. I know I probably even see it more than I’d like when my iPhone suggests it every single time I try and type the word “on” with my stubby fingers. But when you stop and think about it, it’s typically used with other words and is used to indicate inclusion.
Eric and I looked for things that were included within something else. We immediately saw so many things – pipes in a wall, sign posts in the sidewalk, a bottlecap embedded in the street from when the asphalt was originally poured, words scrawled in the concrete from when it was fresh. All these things said “in” to us in one way or another. But we knew that there had to be more.
We headed toward the action of the street fair, saw a few things that caught our attention, but felt right away that it just wasn’t right. We moved beyond the active street and on toward the next few blocks with apartments and more urban housing to see what else caught or eyes. After walking about a block we were met by a local asking us why we were shooting some of the housing. He expressed how he was paranoid about the authorities staking out the local properties and he felt reassured when we told him about our project. He wished us well and let us continue our shoot.
We shot plenty of photos looking in all directions. From billboards in the sky above our heads to discarded objects in the dirt below – from advertising containing the letters “i” and “n” to looking in on things behind windows. Of all the images we captured, there was one that stood out more than the rest. We came across one barred window on a stark white wall. But what said “in” to us the most about this was a vine crawling across the wall seeming as if its only mission was to get in that locked up window. As the window tried its best to keep everything out, the vine squeezed behind the metal bars searching every inch of the window desperate to get in. While all the other images that we captured showed the result of “in”, this was the only one that showed “in” in action.