Highlandtown is slowly experiencing gentrification from the ever-expanding neighbors to its south and west. Consisting of Canton, Fells Point, Butchers and Brewers Hill neighborhoods. But before this gentrification even began years ago there was a revitalization of the neighborhood due to an influx of new ethnic and minority families seeking to live and raise families in Highlandtown’s affordable homes. The older homes in Highlandtown are quickly being purchased as they are generally affordable and in need of significant renovation and modernization. As the properties are improved, the resale values of them are dramatically increased.
While I don’t have a specific view point on this issue, what I do see and experience is an ever-changing neighborhood in constant flux and evolution. Part of this change will be the disappearance of these window dioramas. I believe they will become a thing of the past just like many of Baltimore’s long forgotten and removed painted screens. As new neighbors, families, cultures and ethnicities shift, change and move through the neighborhood, also will its visual façade.
The photos portray a visual layering of elements. The window diorama’s themselves contain statues, figurines and decorative elements that inhabitants have chosen to display. Some are ever evolving with the seasons while others have not changed in a long time. Some of the windows are large modern and clean while others are old forgotten and in decay. Layered on top of these scenes are the reflections of the houses across the street. The iconic form stone homes can be seen, next to their remodeled cousins showing their simple and clean repointed brick exteriors. Reflections of neighbors walking by and children going to school. All of these visual elements come together in a way that is a reflection and an emblem of a dynamic and evolving neighborhood. These dioramas are a collection of past and present, of heritage and culture and new beginnings and fading memories. Because of these dynamics, I find interest in capturing an element of an evolving and changing neighborhood that may be overlooked and go unnoticed.