Alleys & Ruins no. 122, Pillars (2008, St Paul, MN, 12:30am)

Alleys & Ruins no. 122, Pillars (2008, St Paul, MN, 12:30am)

This abandoned loading bay runs parallel to the Mississippi River and the Great River Road and was a remarkable setting for the shoot. A dozen old and corroding bay doors were flanked by large pillars, under a crumbling ceiling. Decades ago, trains would unload their cargo here onto waiting trucks.

While my friends and I are setting up, a dozen suped up cars appear and the drag racing begins. They race right by us, down a stretch of the Great River Road, returning again and again. This goes on for a half hour until the police arrives and a chase ensues. They all take off down the road with sirens blaring behind them and suddenly its quiet. Twenty minutes later they are all back to continue racing but this time it is short-lived: a couple more races and they don’t return.

At this time, a ragged man walks by us and asks what we’re doing. He’s just been kicked out of his home by his wife for drinking too much - this has happened to him many times before. If he comes staggering home, she won't let him in - that's not good when you're a drunk.

He says he’s heading under the bridge where a friend is living and will give him a blanket so he can sleep. But then he recants his story, and now denies over and over that he’s planning to sleep here. He’s an incredibly bad liar, but he’s afraid the cops will bust him, and he's suspicious of us. Finally he admits he really is going under the bridge to sleep, and he heads off to meet his homeless friend. He walks along the bay-door side of the bridge and into the picture frame while the camera shutter is open. His friend is at the far end of the bridge, but the long exposure leaves no impression of the man and his nefarious deed goes unrecorded.

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Xavier Nuez

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