Final Project: The Hill District

March 25 Update

  • Question: Is it worthwhile to recreate places where there is no visually present community (in the form of people) in the original photograph? Is this time wasted? Does seeing the congregation of New Covenant Church “place” the building in a larger ecosystem?
  • Should I just focus on the religious community (all churches, synagogues, mosques, etc.) in the Hill?
  • Met with Lulu at the Carnegie Museum about the Archive. Obtained all 71k images.
  • Newest Images Here


  • Share ongoing work with Terri Baltimore
  • Email Lulu with my progress; obtain blessing to continue; secure a time to meet
  • Write program to more easily decipher database (70k photos) as containing existing buildings
    • Find images containing people and scope out 5 locations, in addition to reaching out to them individually
    • Meet with Lulu at the Carnegie Museum to understand the context in which these photos were taken
  • Go to mass of New Covenant Church on Sunday. Bring hard copies of photos thus far. Talk to the Reverend afterwards
  • Secure a showing date. Options: Penn Ave, Hill House, etc.


March 18 Update

  • I’ve decided to focus on taking photos of existing buildings / infrastructure. I have scraped 31k photos off of the CMOA Teenie Harris Archive and have begun to go through them, looking for buildings that still exist, then finding them on a map. Thus far, I’ve found 6 valuable photos in the first 300 and have recreated 5 of them.
  • I have also decided to begin reaching out to the people living or working at the locations of each photo in order to take environmental portraits of the communities that exist at these locations today. In doing so, hope to show the strength, solidarity, and steadfastness of the Hill District, drawing attention away from how it’s changed over the last 60 years to how its spirit is as alive as ever. [Despite many changes, the Hill is a community burning with passion and fervor for the future of the Hill—for the potential of revitalization and reinvigoration.]
  • I’ve scraped the website idea—the audience whom I would like to engage with (older Hill District residents) may not have easy access to computers. Hyperlocal engagement with small communities, religious or otherwise, seems like it will be the most valuable way of understanding the Hill and producing meaningful work.
  • For the final output, I hope to have a gallery showing at the Hill House Association, potentially in coordination with the Carnegie Museum of Art
    • The work can be presented as a diptych of two images, with the exact same aesthetic qualities (the present photograph mirroring the past photograph):
      • Teenie Harris photographs represent the past histories of the Hill District: the Hill that Teenie knew—the “crossroads of the world”
      • The photographs taken today—”re-presentations” of past imagery—represent the perseverance of the Hill
    • Optionally, they may be presented as a triptych:
      • I will work with communities to develop renderings of what their property would look like if they had the resources to redevelop and landscape it. These renderings would be the third image in a series and represent potential futures.

TODO List for the Week of March 21

  • Share ongoing work with Terri Baltimore
  • Meet with Colter to get his thoughts — THRU EMAIL
  • Process/develop imagery in Lightroom to achieve same aesthetic properties of original photograph — DONE
  • Begin processing large image database to more easily find worthwhile images — IN PROGRESS
  • Continue talking to New Covenant Church — try to organize photo of congregation — IN PROGRESS
  • Approach AME Church
  • Approach Jones Funeral Home
  • Take 5 new photos


March 4 Update

Teenie Harris Photographs, Then and Now (full screen presentation)

Urban Intervention Proposal

Final Project Update | Hill District

  1. Research
    1. Jazz in the Hill
      1. “The Crossroads of the World”: A Social and Cultural History of Jazz in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, 1920 – 1970 by Colter Harper
      2. Teenie Harris Photos (here and here)
    2. Redevelopment
      1. Hill House Association
      2. Crawford Grill LLC
    3. Case Studies
      1. 18th and Vine Street, Kansas City
    4. Interventions
      1. Production of Space by Henri Lefebvre
      2. Josh Oppenheimer (“The Act of Killing” and “The Look of Silence”)
      3. Jeremy Deller (The Battle of Orgreave)
  2. Community Partners
    1. Colter Harper
    2. Terri Baltimore (Hill House Association)
  3. Intervention
    1. Physical Component
      1. Purpose
        1. draw attention to project
        2. establish community interest within the Hill
        3. learn more about the history of the Hill and the changes it’s gone through
        4. make people aware of the Hill’s changes and constancies –> there still exist treasures of time
      2. Execution
        1. recreate Teenie Harris photographs (exact same location and POV, but different time)
        2. represent a diptych (or juxtaposition, e.g. overlay of old on zoom out of new) of then and now using the photos in the physical space in which they were taken (place-based intervention) (e.g. posters on walls) (inspiration: Shepard Fairey obey)
        3. coherent design aesthetic / visual communication design (e.g. 4 x 5 negative border)
        4. Question: photos of constancies or dissimilarities?
        5. Question: sculptural stand / installation?
    2. Digital Component
      1. Purpose
        1. gather community feedback
        2. collect stories
        3. engage in discussion about the future of the Hill
        4. one place to host all content
      2.  Execution
        1. collection of photos (e.g. sightings map)
        2. play in interaction (e.g. Find the differences between these two photos; Where was THIS photo taken?)
        3. contribute own story (low-effort, high effect) (e.g. Exhausting a Crowd by Kyle McDonald)
        4. photo interaction ideas: zoom in or out, draw on photos, add comments on photos, place circles where you’re most moved, find the differences between the photos, ask: What’s missing?, on a map ask: What business closures affected you most?, collage images, mark where the images are to be able to take those photographs, take your own photos, submit your own old photos
        5. prompt on images to push people to website (also year taken?)
  4. Timeline
    1. Week of 2/29
      1. Terri Baltimore’s Hill District Tour
      2. Grandma B’s cafe: corn beef (opens at 10 on Saturday)
      3. Reach out to Carnegie Museum about rights to printing / reproducing the photos
      4. Develop and prepare Presentation for 3/3 (5 min, slides, notes)
        1. main idea
        2. plan
        3. milestones
    2. Week of 3/7 (Spring Break)
    3. Week of 3/14
    4. Week of 3/21
    5. Week of 3/28
    6. Week of 4/4
    7. Week of 4/11
    8. Week of 4/18
    9. Week of 4/25
    10. Week of 5/2
      1. all done May 6

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