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New Image: Ann Arbor’s Bubble Gum alley

I lived in beautiful Ann Arbor, MI for 3 years. When I wanted to shoot urban decay at night, I would head to Detroit, less than an hour away. It was a no-brainer! Detroit was my playground. In my time living there, I shot an armload of alleys across the country, but Ann Arbor just seemed too nice, which is a great thing if you live there. In those 3 years, I shot one Ann Arbor alley, and only because Michigan Radio, the local NPR affiliate, wanted to do a story on me and my work. Producer Tamar Charney was not thrilled with the idea of going to Detroit’s grittier corners at midnight, so we opted for an Ann Arbor shoot.

There’s a famous alley in downtown, covered in paint and gum. Because of its notoriety – and because untold hundreds of people had photographed it, I was not interested. My work is about rooting for the underdog, so after hearing its praises for the umpteenth time, I decided I would never shoot it. And so Ms Charney and I found a different location to do her story.

While living in San Francisco for the next 3 years, and struggling to find any kind of decay to shoot, I started thinking back whistfully about that good ol bubble gum alley, and Why had I never shot it!!

After moving back to the midwest in November, I went straight there. Well, almost straight – Detroit had to be in the schedule, of course!!  So after a night of shooting in Detroit, I went to the famous Ann Arbor Bubble Gum alley!

Alley 130, Bubble Gum, Ann Arbor, MI, 10pm

gum alley


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