Alleys are, of course in towns and cities everywhere and there is little unique to the ones that I have explored in eastern WA. However out there I have never been concerned just wandering in them. I have never witnessed apparent drug deals or disturbed the sleep of a homeless person. Nor have I feared being run down by a speeding motorist. None of this is meant to imply that drugs, homelessness, and recklessness do not occur here. But they are not, apparently, at home in alleys in these small communities.
Alleys can be fascinating; not only for photography but also by their very nature. The buildings that line them reveal much of their history in these somewhat hidden, not for the public kinds of places. The walls in alleys are much less frequently painted or fixed up. Cracked stucco or plaster is minimally repaired if at all, scrape marks and gouges are unattended. They are often (always?) littered with flotsam and jetsam either borne by the wind –a frequent occurrence in eastern Washington – or merely forgotten or tossed away by resident and transient denizens alike. Piles of things that have been tossed aside may result in sculptural like assemblages that make compelling photographic opportunities.
This is a smoker’s break ‘room’ in Ritzville. It is in the alley behind ‘Uniquely Washington’ which sells goods made in Washington only and a small liquor store owned and operated by Dennis Chamberlin and his wife (both are non drinkers). They are remodeling the adjacent building to house a distillery to make wheat whisky. They are but two of several people that I will introduce in future posts that are working hard to bring the historic downtown back to life.
Five Cent Cigar, Ritzville
Alley Sculpture, Lind