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Foreclosureville

November 17, 2010

Many see suburbia as a place to thrive and to grow. As a manifestation of the American Dream, we can prosper in a familial and a financial sense. However, contrasted to this are the difficulties we may face while living here. We are stifled, and with the housing market the way it has been, it has been difficult to even keep the homes we have worked so hard for—and signed mortgages out of our means for.

Photographer Geoffrey Agrons, from Vineland, New Jersey, provides an image of this dilemma titled “Foreclosureville.” The photo was taken in Daly City, a suburb just south of San Francisco.

What does suburbia mean to you?

I spent my childhood in a town that was in transition from its rural origins to suburban sprawl.  Although my adolescence included an obligatory phase of ridicule and rejection of suburban life, I actually have fond memories of tract home developments. The foundations, framed skeletons and dirt mounds of new housing construction were fantastic playgrounds.

I lived just north of Daly City in San Francisco for a few years, and it was interesting to see the direct contrast between suburbia and city. How do you think suburbia affects a person?

It challenges the suburbanite to negotiate the fine line dividing comfort from suffocation.

What inspired “Foreclosureville”?

The view during a late afternoon visit to the roof top of a friend’s home in San Francisco. I found the orderly repetition of the closely spaced dwellings oddly comforting.

Why title the piece “Foreclosureville”?

The title sprang from a rumination on the collision of the American Dream of home ownership with current economic realities.

What do you think of suburbia?

I find the lack of walkability and almost complete reliance on the automobile repellent; yet I cannot deny feeling waves of nostalgia when I visit the suburban ranch my parents occupied for over 50 years.

What inspires you as an artist?

The dynamic tension between the natural world and human activity.

More information and other works by the artist are available on his website.

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