One Man’s Quest To Document The Highways That Tore His City Apart

The Interstate Highway System, ushered in by President Dwight D. Eisenhower 60 years ago, was acclaimed as a groundbreaking public works job that connected the country like ever been. But those 47, 000 miles of federally funded pavement also devastated urban centers.

Photographer Michael DeFilippo has invested the last 5 months documenting pikes in his city of St. Louis. He completed the sequence this week, tied to the 60 th commemoration, and ahead of his own 60 th birthday Friday.

He answers about half of the city’s vicinities are frontier or intersected by an interstate.

“I wanted to show the unintended importances and wallop of the freeway on a really beautiful and vibrant city, ” he told The Huffington Post in an email.

Michael DeFilippo On the ramp to I-6 4 East at 20 th Street. On the left, I-6 4; on the right, Downtown West neighborhood.

DeFilippo, who mostly gets around by bicycle, got closer to the high-speed streets than most people do when they’re not driving.

“I invested some time on the shoulders of busy roads, under freeway overpasses, stepping up and down access ramps at interchanges, ” he said.

The experience reminded him of a 2011 work photographing a tornado in Joplin, Missouri.

“While standing on the edge of I-5 5 or I-4 4, gazing down a barren ribbon of cement with residential vicinities on both sides reminded me of Joplin after the tornado, except the cars on the Interstate were not stacked on top of each other, ” he told HuffPost.

DeFilippo’s photos aren’t filled with disintegrate , nor do they seem especially grisly at first glance. Numerous peculiarity historic houses and city landmarks under bright blue skies. But the pikes are still ever present, and there are times of dark feeling: In one photo, a trick of perspective constitutes it look like vehicles on a flatbed trailer are driving in midair through homes. In another, a truck wipes a mobile home down the roadway juxtaposed with an vacated building in the background.

Michael DeFilippo North Riverfront vicinity of St. Louis. “Touristshauling mobile home in various categories of makes and representations pass throughthe ghosts of city dwellings every day, ” photographer Michael DeFilippo writes.
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