|Notes on RELICS||view bio|
The Tchoupitoulas Street corridor in New Orleans is an urban limbo –- a five-mile stretch along the Mississippi that is strewn with both relics of industry past and hints of gentrification to come. The boarded-up screen doors and teetering piles of planks in Jennifer Shaw's photographs might not seem iconic to the casual passerby, but her intimate portraits embellish them with meaning.
Once photographed, they become signifiers of a city in flux. "When I go walking with my camera, the act of seeing becomes a process of emotional intuition," she says. Drawn in by the texture of a rusted surface or the way light falls through a disintegrating pipe, she is able to see a city up close. "I am drawn to certain objects, and later, as I print the images, I realized what I had been looking at. I wanted to turn these objects into mementos and make them relics in their own right."
Much as a botanist can watch a flower unfurl by speeding up thousands of images taken seconds apart in one day, so these photographs, taken over a period of years, show us a post-industrial city simultaneously shutting down and unfurling.