Just another Instagram. I drive past this wall and door on East 10th at 23rd Avenue in Oakland near my studio every now and then, always meaning to get a photo, but I’m usually in too much of a hurry to stop. So one day a few months ago I walked there from my studio, pulled out my iPhone, and took this shot. Well, in fact I also took several shots at the same time with my little Canon Powershot G12, but I like this one the best.
This is exactly the way it looked back then (it’s still there, but the way it looks changes with the seasons, the graffiti, the weeds, etc.), and I think it conveys the sense of weirdness I always get when I see it — the overwhelming rectangularity (contrasting the radials on the door), the dominant reds and browns, the painted-over graffiti, the slightly-anarchic weeds, and the mystery of a single small door in a large otherwise-unbroken external factory wall. What’s inside? Why is it never open?
But there’s more to it than that. Nine years ago I drove by that door early one morning on my way to work and witnessed the confusing aftermath of a shooting involving a Brinks armored car pretty much right in front of this door. It wasn’t clear what had just happened as I drove by, but (if I remember correctly) there were a couple of police cars there, the Brinks truck, and a couple of stunned-looking bystanders. In my part of the world, you have to assume the worst, and I did; the door remains a chilling reminder of that morning for me. It also makes me meditate a little on the use of words like “shoot” and “shot” and “Powershot” in my line of work….