At Blue Water Baltimore we know that nobody understands the solutions to the complex challenges facing urban neighborhoods better than its residents. Photovoice is a unique educational workshop series that seeks to empower local communities to see and shape the world around them through the creative process. This post is the first in a series that will highlight the work of our resident researchers in Oliver. You can read more about the Photovoice Oliver Project here: https://bluewaterbaltimore.org/blog/the-photovoice-project-oliver/. The next series of workshops will be held in Mondawmin this April; Mondawmin residents my contact Blue Water Baltimore’s Outreach & Education Coordinator, Michel Anderson, for more information.
The following photographs and narrative are the work of Oliver resident, Earl Johnson.
This photo was taken on the last concrete steps of the last house remaining on an empty block. The entire block was demolished two years ago. The green stuffed frog was all that remained of a once vibrant block that slowly rotted away to nothing. As I took the picture I had to wonder, did this frog represent a leap to the past or a leap to our future?
This photo was taken through the windshield of my car as two known drug addicts who are also in a relationship take their morning trip to purchase drugs. As it rained the water made it impossible to see who they were or what they were doing. This picture represents the blind eye towards the growing drug problem in Oliver.
This man, an Oliver resident, holding the shovel has been harden by the life he has lived. Everyday for the past five years I have seen this man in the summer heat and dead of winter working, breaking things down or building something up. To me he represents the events in our lives that forges us to be hard as steal or soft as love. I saw both qualities in this man as I took the picture, but one faded when I went to look back at what I took.
Earl Johnson Oliver resident since 2010 Chairman of The Board Your Baltimore Community Development, Baltimore City Sustainability commissioner.
The views expressed in this post are those of the featured Photovoice participant and not necessarily that of Blue Water Baltimore.