During a recent trip to Dallas took the opportunity to venture out for a day to Fort Worth, a couple of miles down the road. The differences between the two cities were fairly stark – Dallas on the one hand is a thriving metropole, set up by the oil business, and maintained by the computer business, placing Dallas on the edge of America’s second Silicon Valley. But Fort Worth still appears a fairly run down midwest place with a small town mentality. Although the center has some evidence of modernisation, the suburbs are still well and truly placed in the early 80s. Houses look like they would quiver, shake, and fall down at the slightest sign of a hurricane, and a lack of money has left many of them in a state of disrepair. Compared to Dallas, the citizens seem to be suffering from a lack of cash, and the large American vehicles they are travelling around in are definitely not this year’s model.
Still, it’s an interesting place for some photography, if you can escape without upsetting too many of the locals. I was with a friend, Philip, and on a number of occassions people came out to take a look at what we were doing. And the size of the dogs some people had roaming in their porches unleashed meant we didn’t stay around too long in some places.
The photo here, severely warped with the help of a fisheye, was taken under the watchful eye of one of the locals. We had discovered some old derelict buildings on the edge of Fort Worth, which invited us to walk around some and take some pictures. As we arrived at the place, which was located near a factory of some sorts, the workers seemed to be leaving, and one big Ford F150 driver took an interest in us getting out of our car, stopping his truck next to ours. As we walked off, he drove down the street very slowly, and parked up adjacent to where we were taking photos (we were off road). Then as we moved along the site, so did his truck. He didn’t say a word to us, but just kept gazing blankly at us. In a state where it is perfectly legal to carry a firearm around with you, it didn’t make me feel particularly easy 😉
I discussed this with a friend later in the evening, and he told me that he had been out shooting in some woods a couple of years ago, also near Fort Worth, with another friend. At a certain point a couple of trucks pulled up, and a bunch of shaven headed white guys stepped out. They asked my friend if he had seen a young black boy in a white tshirt and jeans anywhere close that afternoon, as they would ‘like to have a little word with him’. When half of the guys have baseball bats, it definitely makes you think…..
The Midwest, it would seem, still has a lot of steps to take to catch up with the rest of America……