McClellan Street

 

"Photographs and Introductions by David and Peter Turnley

Indiana University Press, 2007; $29.95; http://iupress.indiana.edu

Three blocks in Fort Wayne, Ind., have been razed to make room for a parking lot. But those blocks live on in the photographs of twin brothers who grew up in Fort Wayne and chronicled the people who lived on McClellan Street throughout 1972-’73, when the Turnleys were 17 years old. Without any text surrounding the photographs in black and white, the book pulls you into the lives of simple yet proud individuals. Poverty smacks you in the face, and then the dignity and warmth of each individual tingles up and down your spine. Turning pages make you wonder out loud how they could be so openly delighted with life under those conditions, yet they are happy just to be alive. Perhaps the most poignant statement is a scraggly plant growing in a Styrofoam cup and set in a boarded up alcove. One wonders where these people are now. Hopefully we’ll hear after the book gains widespread recognition.

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