Porter McLeod first began making photographs in the South, where he was born, in a small college-town named Athens, Georgia. He is now based in Chicago, IL where he is pursuing a Bachelors Degree in Photography at Columbia College Chicago. His projects explore regional cultures and the relationships between humans and landscape. This Summer he will be traveling West, to Santa Fe where he hopes to further his documentation of the various regions around America. He also plans to continue his expand his knowledge and practice of constructing photo books.
On The Banks Of
I’d seen the river. I’d known of its existence. It’s not small, but it did of an air of boredom: still, slow, murky. I’d heard it was the reason Chicago existed. I’d heard it had long been polluted too, once carrying horse-carcasses in its wash. At the turn of the 20th century, the flow of the river was miraculously reversed. If you ever visit Chicago, this will likely come up at some point. The 28-mile Sanitary and Ship Canal was the largest municipal project in the United States at the time. More rock, soil, and clay were excavated than would be for the Panama Canal, 12 years later. And with its construction, came the plotting, platting and portioning of town and cities along its bank.
These towns and the rivers that run through, naturally lend themselves to history. But are now they are often far past their heyday and emanate an eerie and isolated atmosphere. The land and the water, are not exotic, they are bland. Many towns in the region had once been known for its robust shipyard or massive grain elevators. Now, only their skeletons remain, standing only as a testament to the vitality the region once had. Chicago was built on the industrialization of the river, but even still, it is one of the only things in this city that still feels natural and alive in the city. And like all living things, it carries with it echoes of the past while constantly remaking itself.
To view more of Porter McLeod’s work please visit his website.