Two of my fave Oakland buildings, in what was once one of the rougher neighbourhoods (Dogtown) of a rough city (Oakland, a city I’ve lived in for a long while now). When the buildings were still in use (around the time of the first photo), I always liked the colours, the window shapes, and the confusing geometry of this scene; and, of course, this is a part of town that’s got a lot of associations for me going back many years. A starving artist friend of mine had a (literally) rat-infested studio in a big old tin shed around the corner from here back then (just before the area sprouted a bunch of crappy lifestyle lofts and such), and we’d walk past these buildings on the way up to the shops on Hollis every once in a while, and if the guys sitting in front of the buildings were in the right mood, they’d cadge cigarettes from (or make fun of) “mister artist”.
Not long after that first photo, the buildings were apparently slated to be torn down as part of a larger redevelopment; needless to say, that didn’t happen (and, as of late 2014, still hasn’t happened). I’d go past them every week or two, and little changed for a bunch of years, then it it became a slow downhill slide to that last sad image, taken May 2014. The future? I don’t know, but I’ll keep an eye out (frankly, when I did the first photo all those years ago, I thought I’d see a shiny new live-work place there within a year).
The images were taken with a variety of cameras under a variety of conditions; they’re really just snapshots, but they should give you some idea of the place… I have other Dogtown shots, maybe they’ll surface here sometime as well.