In 1967, Camilo Vergara recorded the facade of a dilapidated building in South Bend, Indiana. In the decades since, he’s photographed other urban structures–such as storefront churches–and returned to photograph these buildings again and again. Vergara believes that the changing nature of these buildings reveals much about the social history of poor urban neighborhoods in contemporary America. “I realized that the buildings had the imprint not just of the people who live in the neighborhood, but also of time . . . . I somehow argue that they can be compared to national parks, to New England villages, to the Missions in California in that they define what this country’s all about.”
Photographs: The J. Paul Getty Museum. Gift of Nancy and Bruce Berman. © Camilo José Vergara. Music by KC Paradise p + c ASV 2006.