The Art of Travel - Photography From Around The World

⚑ Concrete City

If you’ve taken I80 then I81 to the northeast from Pittsburgh, you’ve passed within a few miles of Concrete City, a photographer’s delight. Built in 1911 as a planned city for the managers of the nearby colliery, it was built from prefabricated concrete, a revolutionary concept at the time.  There were twenty identical duplex units arrayed around a shared recreation space. 

Unfortunately, concrete homes were cold, damp, and difficult to modify. Almost immediately after construction, it was recognized that the outhouses must be replaced with indoor plumbing and a sewage system.  The difficulty of adding plumbing to these concrete buildings was just too great, and outhouses were still in use when the last resident left in 1924. Dynamite was brought in to demolish the buildings, but the concrete was too strong, and legend has it that it took 100 sticks of dynamite to demolish just half a building.

An easy hike in from the road, there is convenient parking near the entrance.  First thing is to capture the GPS coordinates with a few mobile shots.  Then the challenge is to capture an overview image, difficult because it’s so overgrown.  If you have a drone, you will love this place!  Another challenge is to capture the colors and creativity of the graffiti while avoiding the crude images that are so prevalent.  Judicious camera angles and creative post processing are essential here.  It’s worth it though because of endless variety of creative and interesting image possibilities.

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