Since 1950, the city of Buffalo, New York, has lost fifty-five percent of its population. Today this loss can be seen across the city in vacant lots. Nearly sixteen percent of all land in Buffalo is vacant, amounting to approximately sixteen-thousand vacant lots. The city owns over 6,500 of them. For this project I photographed more than 3,300 of Buffalo’s city-owned, residential vacant lots and created a maximalist installation with 3,294 photographs. On its own, each photo is inconsequential, but displayed together, the statistics become visual.
While walking through the city collecting data, I began to notice other scenes that also conveyed the story of vacancy. From these photographs I made the book On Foot, and had it printed to resemble drugstore flyers, which often populate vacant lots. With the book, I aim to humanize the sterile photographs in Visualizing Vacancy. The images were my emotional response to the struggle and resiliency I witnessed while traveling through these Buffalo neighborhoods.