South of Buck Creek
When I first photographed Springfield, Ohio, in 1966, it was already a city in precipitous decline. It had once been a manufacturing hub with economic and political power vastly beyond its size, but the city had become an unwitting bellwether of industrial re-structuring and off-shoring. In 2011, the Gallup Organization declared Springfield--with its crime, aging population, and poverty--"America's unhappiest city." In 2015, 24/7 Wall Street contributed its judgment of "least healthy city in Ohio."
Buck Creek is a muddy, east-west waterway that marks an uneven frontier of social class in Springfield. The poorer area south of the creek had once been the site of a thriving downtown whose businesses fled to the malls, leaving empty buildings and the homes of the poor. Many of their houses were unsound and barely fit for occupancy. In recent years, entire neighborhoods were bought out and razed by the city to provide space for a new hospital. Some of the poor relocated; many left.
"South of Buck Creek" is a decades-long photographic document portraying the lives of some of the people who lived there and the traces they left. See videos here.