Sheltering in Place: Judith Black's "Pleasant Street"
Navel gazing can get a little old, so, in the coming weeks (months?), as we find ourselves counting the hours till lunchtime on the sofa, we look for productive and creative ways to spend our days. In hopes of inspiring each other, we’ll be sharing some projects by photographers who have used the medium to explore the crevices and vistas of their home or neighborhood.
A friend asked Judith Black if she would be all right when she moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1979 with her four children. Frankly, she didn’t know. They had moved into a dilapidated apartment in a neighborhood the real estate agent conceded was as good as they were going to find. The small convenience store down the block was fiercely sprayed with “fuck you” on the clapboard - a less than encouraging welcome for a family that had grown up in the bucolic hippie house they shared with Black’s siblings in New Hampshire. Things didn’t seem very promising for a single mother with a meager income and a menagerie of young children.
Over the the next two decades, Black would make a series of images that chronicled the lives of her young children, and her relationship with them. “I quickly realized that I was not going to be able to roam the streets to make photographs," recalls Black. "I had limited time between working at MIT as an assistant, attending classes, and being a mother. Our apartment was dark, but it became my studio.”
Pleasant Street by Judith Black is published by Stanley/Barker.
See more from our Sheltering in Place series here.