Tindle Mills, Springfield, MO

When I was sixteen, I got my first car. It was a fire-engine red, 1970, Chevy Malibu Chevelle. I loved that car. I drove it well into my twenties until it was too expensive to maintain. My beloved car then sat in my parent’s backyard for several years. I wouldn’t sell it (with the fantasy of one day being able to renovate it) and my parents pacified me by allowing me to keep it until I was ready to get rid of it. When I finally went to sell it, we opened the hood and an opossum was living in the engine. It was a good lesson in learning when to let things go.

My first car experience reminds me of changes within a cityscape. What buildings do we value and why? What outdated buildings have sentimental value but are just too expensive to maintain or renovate to a usable space? Why do some buildings sit for years uninhabited only to become an eye sore for the community? When do we tear down? When do we build up?

When I was photographing the deconstruction of Tindle Mills, my mother was in the process of dying. I left Springfield for three weeks and when I returned the majority of the structure was down. Tindle Mills, like my mother, was resilient. But in the end, both of them were gone. This body of work is as much of a self-portrait of my state of mind at the time as it is a documentary project of a changing cityscape. It was incredibly difficult to see a building, loved by so any people, being taken down brick by brick. It was a helpless experience of viewing something I could not control and it mirrored my family experiences that were simultaneously happening.

These photographs were shot with a Pentax 645N camera and Fujichrome Velvia film.

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