Phoenix streets stretch in each direction, straight lines cutting through suburban climates. The skyline is ever present, a beacon for lost adventurers. We decide to explore in depth more familiar areas with hidden little nooks of unrest, empty and occupied all the same. The weather finally has settled into the climate we Arizonan’s like to brag about to people who gasp at the concept of people who would have the audacity to live in a desert. Cool air, motionless and faintly smelling of dirt still damp from rain earlier in the week, Greg and I walk through our city softly talking.
We walk up a building he had scouted in his wanderings. It is a building I had ventured to a long time ago when I first started experiencing what street photography had to offer. Here I had managed to photograph a plane flying through the tall antenna of the Westward Ho, creating a cross of light captured in a 10 second exposure.
I spent some time painting light on barbed wire, sleeping homeless man sprawled out in the near distance which blended into the rubble very effectively. The ground was covered with various debris left behind from passerby, blankets, trash, and weeds across cracked cement and dirt lots. Occasional people walked through, head down in their own world.
A house across the street caught our attention. I observed a chain link fence surrounding the perimeter of the building, and we circumference it flashlights in hand looking in. We saw a rusty bicycle frame resting on the ground near an opening in the fence big enough for a grown man to pass through. Greg stayed to photograph the bike and I proceeded in further.
Inside I immediately felt as if I were intruding into someone’s territory even though the building was long abandoned. While there may not be a homeowner, someone definitely lives here, and the front porch and side yard was filled with belongings. With my flashlight I walked through the dark yard, seeing a figure in the bushes, although my curiosity is dangerously pervasive I opted to allow the individual the space he likely desired. I returned to the front porch, making sure I was not further intruding on individuals who may not desire my nosiness. The front porch had a bicycle, various makeshift sleeping arrangements, a few books one of which was a weathered bible sitting on the ledge, and a sign stating “spare some change for a homeless vet”. Spent some time taking a few photos all the while flashing my light fancifully in each window, what lay inside I wondered. I saw no feasible entrance unfortunately and by this time our instincts were telling us to leave, so we did. Walking away, I heard the shout of a woman nearby, and of course being the fool that I am I directed our steps that way.