Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Return to Fountain Square

Fountain Square is one of the six cultural districts in Indianapolis, and its resurrection 20 years ago from an extended period of neglect is one of the most remarkable stories in Central Indiana. But for the past two years, the heart of the district has been under siege by construction, as it is transformed yet again in the last stages of the development of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail.

I made my first visits to photograph this interesting, if quaint, area just southeast of downtown, back in July 2009. I made two visits then -- once during daylight, and another at night. As the galleries from those shoots indicate, I elected to do something I'd not done before or since with the images I made from those shoots: present them all in monochrome.

I was back in Fountain Square last week, joining members of the Indianapolis Photographic Society in a project to photo-document the community. A lot has changed since 2009; the original fountain has been returned, for example. This time, I decided to stick to color in most instances, as the Cultural Trail construction to date has given the district an uplifting, contemporary look while retaining the old-school charm. I did copy several images into monochrome versions and was pleased with the results. Finally, the vast majority of images you see here were bracketed for exposure for high-dynamic range (HDR) treatment in post-processing.

On the night we shot, May 15, and for that whole week, it turned out, there were amusement rides and food vendors set up in the open parking lot behind Subway's between Morris and Sanders streets, on the west side of Shelby Street. I'll present images taken from the carnival area in a separate post next up.  As you can tell from some of the images in this post and in the gallery (link below), the construction is not over. A lot of what's remaining is right at the fountain, where Shelby and Prospect streets meet Virginia Avenue.

The society is planning to make additional visits in the weeks ahead and, in the meantime, kick around ideas about what to do with our work at some point thereafter. There already has been talk of seeking to display the pictures in galleries or businesses in the district, and possibly even putting the images into a book.

In the meantime, you can find my Fountain Square 2012 images at my SmugMug gallery. There are likely more to come after the subsequent shoots.

At the bottom of the post,  I conclude with monochrome conversions of two of my favorites from the shoot -- the image leading off this post (top) and the one immediately below. The first monochrome, a vista of the downtown skyline using an ultra-wide angle lens, is traditional black-and-white; the second, the one of the Fountain Square Center/Southeast Community Services building immediately below, is a modified sepia, a filter called "antique."


  1. Love this! The Fountain Square area has long been one of my favourites; it's good to see it through another's eyes.

  2. Can't say how much I really enjoyed this!!! I remember back "when", this area was an area you just didn't want to drive in... It has come a long way and you are really showing those great improvements in this blog!!! SUPER JOB!!! It's now becoming quite the fashionable location!!! I found that out when we went Duckpin Bowling recently...NICE!!!

    I did wonder about the "shadow" on the sidewalk... My first reaction was "Olive Oyl!" But, I realized that may indeed be a resemblance to "another famous and familiar shadow"...huhhmmmm.

    Anyway...loved this and so glad you chose to show us this neighborhood...makes me want to go visit now...

  3. Jacqueline, Anon. ... thank you both. This was really an enjoyable, rewarding evening for me. I can't wait to go back!