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Franklin Avenue – Front and Back


I moved to an apartment on Franklin Avenue in the Regent Square area of what is, legally, part of the Borough of Wilkinsburg, PA. But it abuts the City of Pittsburgh and, indeed, “Regent Square” also includes a small slice of Pittsburgh. I had resided in the area previously – going on 50 years ago when I attended graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh. The little business district has solidified and evolved, serving a predominantly younger middle-class crowd. With this move I was retiring and refocusing my attention from 50 or so years as a policy analyst for various levels of government, to my photography and my writing. I was attracted to a class through the local fine arts photograph gallery, the title of which included both “haunting” and “storytelling.” With my focus on the latter, “storytelling,” I decided to get a head start and, simultaneously, acquaint myself with the neighborhood.


All of the images were captured in the two-week period, July 13 to July 27, 2021. A few were captured with a Canon mini camera. Unfortunately, the lens has apparently seen better days and most of those images were discarded. However, the contributions to the story of a few overrode the slight visual distortion, IMHO.


The intent is to depict a “walk around the block.” The images do, indeed, follow the path out the door, up the street, around the corner and then back down the “alley” behind the buildings that front Franklin Avenue. In a few cases, however, a few images of essentially the same view, captured at different times over the capturing period have been included, illustrating how, while some things may remain constant, other things change and sometimes quite rapidly over a short period of time.


In the process, I met several people who agreed to have their image captured. Some paused and, in a few cases, we conversed for a few minutes. There were others who were simply “going about their business.” One yard in particular included several really lovely flowers. And there were several signs supporting social causes such as “Black Lives Matter” and “Stop the Violence.”


It is a diverse neighborhood along several dimensions. There are a few mostly well-kept SFDUs, but most of the buildings are multi-family. Nothing out-sized. A few are converted SFDUs, but most were originally constructed as multi-family dwellings, as is my building – the quite old “Berkeley.” Thus, there is a disproportionate number of younger folks, some still in college or graduate school. Along Franklin Avenue, apart from the growth of plant life and the usual shuffling of porch furniture, things are rather stable. It is the alley where the activity occurs. The unwanted rejected, collected and disposed. The hired help park, enter and do their duties. And where Julie modifies a van in anticipation of lengthy travels about the country.


Sprinkled about the “walk” are the captures of a few of the details that caught my eye, such as the small figurine on the next-door porch, the several cats (although none held still long enough for a decent capture, in the spirit of the piece, I’ve included the images), the flowers and the red reflector on the fence. My hope is that you enjoy the walk.



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