Lorain, Ohio 1
June 11, 2015
Before globalization Lorain, Ohio, was a major steel producer in the U.S.—behind Pittsburgh, to be sure, but still important. According to Wikipedia, “These mills have operated in the city since 1895 and continue to employ thousands of local residents.” Ah, yes, but things are not the way they used to be. Employee parking lots are mostly empty, and nearby businesses closed. My friend Susanne used to work there and recently guided me past the mills that stretch for three miles along the Black River. It was a bittersweet trip for her. Susanne’s four years there predated the decline of the mills, and every turn seemed to ignite nostalgia for her. She arranged this trip thinking I might enjoy photographing the old structures. And I would have, except that no one is allowed on the property who isn’t an employee or official guest, and it was impossible to get close enough for the kind of photographs I wanted to take. I accidentally stepped onto what I thought was a public alley, and a watchful security guard let me know my error. He pointed me to an adjacent piece of property that he said did not belong to the steel company and said I could photograph from there. So I did. It’s the only decent shot I was able to get of the works. Can’t you just imagine getting closer?