(American, b. 1976 Indianapolis, IN; resides in Chicago, IL)
In many neighborhoods, particularly on [Chicago’s] South Side and near West Side, these most personal places are the bellwethers of dramatic economic development dynamics. As our homes go, so go our neighborhoods. —David Schalliol
David Schalliol’s series Isolated Building Studies: Revealing Meaning Through Recontextualization (2006-present) goes beyond the category of architectural photography to engage with questions of urban change and socioeconomic inequality and to draw out the relationships between buildings and their surrounding communities. Long interested in the abandonment, vacancy, and dereliction of residential structures, Schalliol questions what these absences in the urban environment mean. He started his investigation by sitting in a vacant lot on the South Side of Chicago every day for three months, during which time he got to know the people who spent time there. The resultant ongoing project is both photographic and sociological in nature. By creating a set of uniform compositions of isolated buildings, Schalliol hopes to reveal common patterns of the impact of political and economic forces upon different neighborhoods. Schalliol states, “Instead of seeing one peculiar building, we see the legacy and immediacy of urban transformation. Instead of asking “What happened to this house?,” we ask “What is causing this phenomenon?”
David Schalliol completed a bachelor’s degree in Social and Political Economy from Kenyon College (1999) and a master’s degree in sociology from the University of Chicago (2004). Currently he is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago and the Visiting Assistant Professor of Social Sciences at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Schalliol’s work has been exhibited in the Midwest and is included in a new photography book by Donald McCrea, Migration: Lost and Found in America, released by MWP (Michael Wiese Productions) in 2010.