Months before the Valley Metro Light Rail opened for travel in December 2008, Ryan Heckel methodically photographed every undeveloped lot along its path with an interest in understanding the change and impact of its construction. Now, with over a million passengers per month in 2010, and planned expansion over the next two decades, we can expect to watch a continuously changing face of the Valley. Over the past two years, I have revisited a number of these sites, and made re-photographs from the original vantage points to show what change they have undergone.
Much like a desert river however, not all areas along its path experience prosperity – while some views have been filled with lush parks or large buildings, some remain unaltered. I am interested in how rephotography allows us to see and experience a place through time, and how these differences in growth, from minute to massive, might act as a synecdoche for the growth of Greater Phoenix.
Jason Roehner spent his childhood camping and shoveling endless amounts of snow on the East Coast until he and his family moved to Arizona in 1998. His early fascination with the seemingly exponential growth of Phoenix led him to explore the relationship of the desert to its inhabitants. Jason graduated from The Herberger Institute for Design and The Arts at Arizona State University in 2008 and continues to contribute work to Phoenix Transect
The most important aspects of photographing along the Salt, Gila, and Verde Rivers that traverse the Valley are experiencing different areas of change throughout Phoenix, and spending time in a territory that lives under a microscope as we bring the future into focus. As rivers and trains have helped cultivate areas during exploration and settlement in the past, I’m also interested in what growth may to come to areas along the path of the light rail, and have been exploring and visualizing this change through the practice of rephotography.