In the 1970s, the folklorist Bruce Jackson conducted field research on life in prisons, using photography to document the lives of the prisoners and their guards. Now a SUNY Distinguished Professor at the University at Buffalo, Jackson has more recently used his camera to document the structures of Buffalo’s industrial past. While there are no people in this photograph of grain elevators down by the waterfront, the architecture shows evidence of their presence: although the graffiti suggests the site has been abandoned, someone has turned on the lights. Glowing with a cozy warmth as dusk approaches, the buildings seem to be waiting for visitors to arrive—presumably us, as we are positioned as if walking toward them. By literally recasting these old structures in a new light and inviting us to move closer in, Jackson draws our attention to the waterfront’s ongoing revitalization.
Label from Window to Wall: Art from Architecture, November 18, 2017–March 18, 2018