Monday, December 07, 2009

Dissecting Soulard

Where ever I live, I pride myself on not being that guy who, when his friends come from out of town, is seeing the sights for the first time right along with them. Whatever the big attractions are, I become familiar with them in short order. By the time visitors arrive, I can tell them all about whatever they want to know.

Soulard is certainly one of St. Louis's top attractions, and my first photographs there are now over a decade old. I've visited it many times. So it was a surprise to find how little I've photographed there. However much you wander across a neighborhood, you don't find out what you have and haven't documented until you try to put it on a map.

On reflection, in my endless quest to find the city's more exotic, far flung, forgotten, neglected, and endangered corners, I have always regarded photo expeditions to Soulard as a guilty pleasure, an overdone cliche, something to be avoided in favor of seeking out places and buildings that might not be there tomorrow. In spite of its near-demise after World War II, Soulard today seems like a safe bet to stay put. So I've never put in the serious hours there needed to truly document it and capture its essence.

Nonetheless, I have gotten many of the highlights and landmarks, and present them on a humble tour of Soulard. This will be the first of many south St. Louis tours, and some day it will be more extensive. It doesn't fully capture the charm of this amazing neighborhood, but it's a start.