Puerto Rico exists in a strange purgatory: a US territory, its citizens are American citizens, and yet it is not a state. Its residents cannot vote for President, and do not have a voting representative in Congress. As a Caribbean island, it is among the most well off, and yet if it were a US state, it would be the poorest. There are movements on the island in favor of independence; there are others, stronger, in favor of statehood. And yet, it remains a territory - part of the United States in law but not in spirit.
Puerto Rico was obtained by the United States in 1898 after the brief but nation-changing Spanish American War, in which the United States overnight joined the ranks of the imperial powers. It collected Puerto Rico, along with Guam, the Philippines, and other assorted territories, from the crumbling Spanish Empire, and it gained effective if not legal control of Cuba at the same moment. Puerto Rico remains the most important of those territories still under US rule.
Poverty exists in Puerto Rico, though often out of view in downtown San Juan. Still, there are pockets: the La Perla slum I mentioned in a previous post is the most notable example. This playground, abandoned and marked with graffiti, lay on a major road leading from the high-scale Condado district to Old San Juan, and its colors, contrasted with the cloudy sky and framed by palms, jumped out at me.
Larger version on Flickr, here.
Critiques | Translate
holmertz (41045) 2014-03-07 8:52
This may be an ugly view in a way, but it is far from an unattractive photo. There are good contrasts of colors and some graffiti of a global style and the branches cover parts of the dark sky very nicely. The decay and neglect may also be part of a global trend among the "advanced" countries, where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer and where middle class areas slowly become slums. Your interesting note is definitely an important part of this contribution.
annjackman (19603) 2014-03-07 10:04
Thanks to your note I now a lot more about Puerto Rico. The picture is incredibly well seen and photographed. The fallen leaves on the old playground and the graffiti on the buildings tell a story. It is also very well framed by the tree branches.
An excellent image.
Kind Regards, Ann
Noel_Byrne (24269) 2014-03-07 10:39
A photographer finds beauty in any ugly subject, and that is what you have done so well here. While the decay of the place is obvious, and the graffiti speaks of a place less well off, the colors are still a brilliant draw, and I can still appreciate the work of the graffiti artists themselves. You have framed the scene nicely with the trees and the symmetry of the houses creates a really nicely effect.
It kind of feels like we are spying on this place from hidden in the trees. The blue of the sky is really cool.
Excellent note too, I did know this about Puerto Rico. I learn everyday on this site!
Thanks as always
macjake (56582) 2014-03-07 11:07
bravo for this one.
this is exactly what TE is about, learning about different places all around the world.
and I like what Noel said, its almost like you're spying on the scene hiding in the trees.
a poor state of affairs indeed, and the photo shows that. sad but true i suppose.
Kamilutka (8095) 2014-03-07 13:51
I agree with Gert, that despite quite obscure place the photo is actually very interesting and is of very good quality in terms of colors, contrast and composition in general. I like the branches which soften slightly the whole image and add little bit of beauty. Well documented and accompanied by very interesting note.
eldancer1 (27891) 2014-03-08 10:09
It is unfortunate that people tend to abandon and let neighborhood go to ruin then build new houses in the suburbs, it's such a waste of resources. Nicely captured ruins with good details. Well done, tfs.
jcpix (13658) 2014-03-09 14:48
I mentioned this same thing to Brian, the world is not full of puppy dogs and rainbows...and it's a true test of a good eye to make the most out of a scene such as this. Finding interest and appeal far from the mainstream is often the most telling and compelling. Most would not see this as aesthetic, but you've managed to reveal it's hidden beauty with thoughtful regard. Always a good reminder to witness the real side of life. Now this is a court I might have a chance on...no one else around to block my errant shots! :) Enjoy the new week ahead. All the best.
Waylim (25350) 2014-03-09 15:46
Very nice note explaining the history and current status of PR.
Good photo with the abandoned playground of old basketball court and the graffiti on abandon houses provide a sense of nostalgic quality. Makes me think about the time when it was lively place full of youthful energy. It is kind of like revisiting an your own play ground that is no longer what it used to be. Very nice shot with good POV and great use of the trees to frame the top of the image.
- Copyright: Andrew Lipsett (ACL1978) (7467)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2014-02-18
- Categories: Daily Life, Architecture
- Camera: Nikon D7000, Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM
- Exposure: f/4.8, 1/250 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Date Submitted: 2014-03-07 6:44