In Existing Light
The Architectural Photography of Tom Bejgrowicz (2005-2012)
by Tom Bejgrowicz
In Fall 2005, Bejgrowicz took his first photograph of architectural abandonment. McDonald Street was a low-income neighborhood comprised of a church, a school and a couple dozen homes built as employee housing in the 1930s for the ABC Coke plant across the railroad tracks in Tarrant, AL. As a result of nearly eight feet of flooding from the highly polluted Five Mile Creek (or “Creosote Creek” as it was nicknamed) in 2003, the residents of McDonald Street were permanently displaced from their contaminated homes. Most of them never returned to claim any of their personal belongings, be it family photo albums, closets full of clothing, record collections, keys, or personal identification. The street was, for all intents and purposes, a ghost town. Only the school was transformed into a business while the rest of the street, both the church and the homes, remained untouched and vacant. That is, until the entire neighborhood was razed for good within three years of his shooting it.
Throughout the following seven years Bejgrowicz would shoot nearly 200 locations in the United States from Alabama and California to Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, and the mighty city of Detroit. This collection features over 140 images from those years and represents the first-ever retrospective of his work in this field.