Certainly, St. Louis is a city of contrasts, and Ellendale, on our far western border, is a firm example. It’s 130-year history includes successes in industry (Scullins Steel) and failures in renewal (St. Louis Marketplace); interestingly and somewhat ironically, the latter sits on the exact site of the former. Nonetheless, Ellendale has persisted through the years, and this fact offered for some exciting architectural variety to photograph. Here, shotgun style and flounder houses rub elbows with Victorians, and apartment buildings sit across the street from sprawling industrial complexes. “Encrustation” is visible everywhere, from attached garages converted into living spaces, to brick homes with wood or vinyl-sided expansions. Even so, the area appears very well-maintained, and thoroughly “lived-in”; it is a working class community with an expansive heritage and a lot of heart.
Old North Saint Louis is a neighborhood of distinction that is experiencing a rebirth. From arts advocacy groups, to restauranteurs and building developers, to a committed and close-knit community, Old North Saint Louis continues work to reclaim its former glory.
photograph by Siobhan Lestina
The Saint Louis Art Museum is one of the most comprehensive art museums in the Nation, and it is entirely free to visit (sans some of the special exhibits), making it a tremendous cultural asset for the city.
The Museum itself is a Beaux Arts-style structure (designed by Cass Gilbert) and sits atop Art Hill; a position of grandeur that it has held ever since its construction as the Palace of Fine Arts for the World’s Fair of 1904. If you happen to approach from the Grand Basin, it is easy to understand why many St. Louisans refer to SLAM as the “crown-jewel of Forest Park”.
photograph by Dan Henrichs Photography, St. Louis
Soulard typifies St. Louis. In this historic neighborhood, the original French character was absorbed and transformed by the many German immigrants who moved here in search of a new Rhineland. Among those moving here were the Anheuser and Busch families, whose collaborations spawned the renowned brewery that still bears their names (and has its North American headquarters in Soulard). This process of new cultures moving in and out of the area is what afforded St. Louis with so much early success. It is, after all, the “Gateway City”.
On the afternoon that Photo Flood Saint Louis visited Soulard, the neighborhood was in the midst of celebrating its annual Oktoberfest. It’s a great excuse to hit the red bricks and grab a beer in one of the abundant local watering holes or at the festival itself. The neighborhood also hosts Mardi Gras and a Bastille Day event.
Walking around Soulard, it is impossible to not feel the presence of its history. From the Soulard Farmers Market (which claims to be the oldest farmers market in the U.S.) to the red brick sidewalks, this is a neighborhood linked to the culmination of forces driving the region. Continue Reading →
What do Thomas Hart Benton (the Senator), William S. Burroughs (the author), and William Clark (of “Lewis and Clark”) have together in common? The answer is that they are all interred at the sprawling, urban necropolis of Bellefontaine Cemetery.
Bellefontaine Cemetery was established in 1849 as a place for bodies of an older downtown cemetery to be moved, making the area downtown suitable for development. After the Cholera Epidemic and Fire of that same year, it became clear that the new cemetery would have a successful start (I know, that’s a bit morbid). Anyway, good foresight and design granted Bellefontaine Cemetery with a beautiful, parklike setting that still exists. Over the years, many of the city’s finest sons and daughters came to rest here, some of who had ornate architectural monuments or crypts erected in their honor.
We had a fabulous time visiting, and hope you’ll get a sense of that in the images above and those that follow. Enjoy!
photograph by Jamie Kreher
“St. Louis never disappointed me. She was there at every turn. Turn from the river with your back to the east, and you can see the dust of the prairies granulating the light. I’m tempted to say ululating, for there is a persistent tremor in the light at that particular point in our geography where St. Louis rests. There is no other place like it.” -Joel Meyerowitz, foreword to his photobook, St. Louis and The Arch
It is quite true that St. Louis is a town unlike any other. It is a city where the salve of history soothes the wound of decay. Still, there is a new breed of residents (artists, designers, entrepreneurs) who look to the future, and they have already done much to revitalize the area. The downtown core represents the heart they wish to revive.
This area, bounded by Washington, Walnut, 10th Street and the Mississippi River, is where we decided to focus our lenses for the first ever Photo Flood Saint Louis. Much of the region’s (and some of the Nation’s) heritage rests in this section of the city, so it is only natural that we would begin here.
photograph by Andy Holman
As evidenced by Joel Meyerowitz’s statement above, we are not the first photographers to photograph St. Louis. In fact, the city boasts a long list of camera-toting artists who have produced work here, including Ansel Adams, Catherine Opie, John Gossage, Alec Soth, and more. St. Louis’ relationship with photography goes back almost to the beginning of the craft, when Thomas Easterly, a St. Louis daguerreotypist, took (arguably) the first photograph of lightning.
We are proud to embrace this legacy, and to add our own little mark to the cultural topography of this great city. At Photo Flood 1, a broad range of photographers, employing technology ranging from medium format film to camera phones, arrived to document this small part of STL. The photographs displayed here represent the best of what resulted. Enjoy! Continue Reading →