Like everyone else, the pandemic has put a serious dent in my photography. Being able to wander around freely, whenever it becomes possible to do so again, is something I will be mindful to cherish. Castleberry Hill is an upcoming artsy neighborhood just southwest of downtown Atlanta. The night scene was vibrant one crowded Saturday night when I went for takeout, so I decided to stop by during the day. It was a pleasant spring day in late March 2019–cloudy, with moments of strong sunlight, and not too hot. I had just gotten a Maxxum 5 a few days earlier to go along with the Maxxum 7000i purchased in late February. Lacking floral subjects (most flowers in my garden don’t bloom until May), I set out for Castleberry Hill.
Parking can be tricky downtown—cheap lots fill quickly. Going west on Trinity Avenue, I spotted a mural that I didn’t remember from previous visits. Intrigued, I found cheap parking near Forsyth Street and decided this was a good place to begin exploring. (Castleberry Hill starts one block further west on Trinity where the name change to Peters Street.)
This part of Forsyth Street is a decidedly unglamorous part of Atlanta. The city jail, police station, and usual bail bond places are within a block or so of where I parked. Just a few blocks to the east are the mayor’s office and state capitol building; to the west one block are the galleries and restaurants of Castleberry Hill— literally, just around the corner. Standing on the street was somewhat eerie. It was the middle of the day and only occasionally did a car pass. No one was on the street except a few family members who were out exploring with me. One could easily get the impression that this area had been purposely walled off from the vitality on either side to the east and west.
I took a few shots of the mural and the bail bond place, then began walking down Trinity. Just as I crossed Forsyth, I noticed the building on the southwest corner was a hollow shell. Considering it to be a fitting boundary between the quiet dreariness where I set out and the start of Castleberry Hill, I looked it over and walked on.
Immediately, on my right, another mural, an image of Colin Kaepernick, came into view. The group of buildings presenting the mural were bright and colorful–their cheerfulness proclaiming that my intended destination was just a bit further. I stopped to take a few more shots. As life would have it, my color film ran out just as I was half a block away from Peters Street. Searching my bag, all I had was a roll of Ilford XP2, and where I was headed demanded color. I had been out shooting earlier, and never thought I would shoot as much as I had. I turned around, disappointed, but knowing I would return another day for the images I sought. I shot a few black and white images of the decrepit building on the way back to the car.
COVID has claimed this spring, and now, it appears, what remains of this summer. I still haven’t made it to Castleberry Hill.
Of things lamented during sleepless nights, missed opportunities are usually near the top of the list.