Safety & Seclusion
Whether a community is gated or not, the inhabitants of a wealthy community believe they are safer and will always appear to be perfect. After traversing the middle-and-lower class spaces where the “outsiders” are meant to live, I began to examine affluent communities. These spaces offer something peculiar to the outside world: the inherent notion of safety and the creation of utopian environments through the use of the natural world. These affluent communities that are situated around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania also show the exclusivity and secluded nature of these environments. The camera becomes a catalyst in the examination of the geography of these spaces and how they were inherently built, but the closer one looks, the more imperfections one sees. Whether it be a fence that has a gap in the bottom, as if someone escaped or entered by force, the overgrowth that occupies that unused land in these areas, or an abandoned home these imperfections bring the communities back to reality and re-root them back into the rest of society.
The concealed nature of these homes and communities, their walls of trees, shrubs, concrete, and gates propose a larger issue among the rest of society: the barricades confront outside visitors with force as they are activated in such a way to keep people out. Using these objects as a signifier of wealth and power among the societal classes creating a divide among social classes. The use of a wall or natural barrier indicates a space only the wealthy can inhabit—it’s a utopian environment where the wealthy have control and are given the power to decide who is granted permission to venture past these barriers.
Dealing with themes of security, wealth, community, and geography. These images explore and document the upper-class society -- creating a utopic environment of safety through the natural world and peering into the idiosyncrasies and imperfections that ground these spaces back to reality.