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Randy Fox
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Blog Entries by Randy Fox

The Faded Motels Of The Rust Belt (PHOTOS)

(109) Comments | Posted January 24, 2013 | 7:00 AM

During my childhood, I spent a lot of time in hotels and motels. My father, infected by wanderlust, enjoyed being on the road and we frequently moved from place to place. I can still recall following my father around the outer balcony of a motel in Roanoke, as he fervidly...

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McKeesport, Pennsylvania: The End Of A Rust Belt Powerhouse

(15) Comments | Posted December 31, 2012 | 7:00 AM

The first time I went to photograph McKeesport, PA, I made the remark to the person with me that the city looked like it had been evacuated in 1979. The streets were empty; remaining business fronts were mostly closed; a parking garage sat unused, etc. The ensuing years have not...

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The Disappearing Ghost Signs Of The Rust Belt

(36) Comments | Posted November 9, 2012 | 7:00 AM

Ghost signs are nearly the equivalent of what cave drawings were to our early modern day explorers: signifiers of how previous lives lived, worked and maybe the kind of beer they drank or the cigarettes they smoked. While these ghost signs populate many towns in our country, they are in...

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Autumn Comes To The Rust Belt: High School Football, Factories And Uncertain Futures (PHOTOS)

(186) Comments | Posted September 25, 2012 | 8:00 AM

In the Shreve High football stadium,
I think of Polacks nursing long beers in Tiltonsville,
And gray faces of Negroes in the blast furnace at Benwood,
And the ruptured night watchman of Wheeling Steel,
Dreaming of heroes.

All the proud fathers are ashamed to go home.

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Stuffed Elk Heads And The Old Bars Of The Rust Belt (PHOTOS)

(413) Comments | Posted August 27, 2012 | 8:00 AM

They were lined up in a row across the street from the Pullman Standard railroad car plant in Butler, PA - a small mill town north of Pittsburgh; they crowded the main drag outside of the Steel Mill entrance in Clairton, PA; and they covered the hills and streets outside...

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Pittsburgh's Hill District: The Death Of A Dream (PHOTOS)

(490) Comments | Posted July 16, 2012 | 8:45 AM

In America, prior to mass suburbanization and sprawl, our great cities served as, not only cultural and business hubs, but thriving centers of families. Some of those neighborhoods were virtually cities within a city, especially when it came to divisions of ethnicity and color.

These places had their own histories;...

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The Crawling King Snake, The Wicked Pickett, And Other Echoes From The Ruins Of Detroit's Musical Past (PHOTOS)

(557) Comments | Posted June 4, 2012 | 8:00 AM

Recently, I was standing on a street corner on one of the beaten avenues of Detroit. I was staring at a small building that was in the throes of being reclaimed by nature. The rusty steel sign frame still hung from the building, but any identifiers were long gone.

At...

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The Saga Of Cleveland, Ohio And Its Accordion King (PHOTOS)

(470) Comments | Posted May 3, 2012 | 8:00 AM

In the summer of '77, I was 13 years of age and living with my mother and older sister in Charlotte, NC. We wouldn't be in Charlotte for long; it was another stop on the never-ending quest for "home." My father had passed away a couple of years prior, so...

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The Ghosts Of Brownsville's Young Lovers (PHOTOS)

(830) Comments | Posted April 4, 2012 | 8:00 AM

Over the years, Brownsville, PA has become somewhat of a legendary destination for those who document the rise and fall of the Rust Belt. Brownsville was a major railroad yard and coking center up through the first half of the 20th century, with its population peaking in 1940 at around...

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'The Deer Hunter' And 'Reckless': Hollywood Briefly Comes To The Factory Valleys (PHOTOS)

(4) Comments | Posted March 5, 2012 | 7:00 AM

Beginning with "The Deer Hunter" in 1978 and probably wrapping up with "Reckless" in 1984, there was a small steel valley chic trend in cinema. Maybe the still-recent decline of the American factory town was fresh enough to resonate with the larger population and Hollywood. Of course, it didn't last...

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Coal Mining Towns, "The Corner" And A Photography Exhibit At The Tremaine Gallery (PHOTOS)

(1) Comments | Posted February 16, 2012 | 8:30 AM

I had big plans for the last few days of this past week: A middle of the night departure that would take me through Central Pennsylvania coal country on Friday; a stop to cover the urban sadness of Newburgh, NY and an artist reception for the Fabricated exhibition at the...

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Photographer Russell Marshall: Documenting Detroit's Working Class (PHOTOS)

(1) Comments | Posted January 27, 2012 | 7:30 AM

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Two City Men, Detroit, Michigan

For someone based out of the Pittsburgh area, my articles have been a little Detroit-centric lately. But Detroit and its history can't help but be a permanent and major part of the Rust Belt's rise and fall. Photographer...

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As The American Auto Industry Went, So Did The Rust Belt (PHOTOS)

(16) Comments | Posted January 18, 2012 | 8:45 AM

Older American automobiles have come to mean many things: celebrations of style and American ingenuity or a reminder of a time when the auto wasn't made with the concern for superior MPG. Styles varied enough that your individual taste could be truly represented by the make and model you ended...

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Taking A Hard Look At The Plight Of America's Inner City With Photographer Jeff Brouws (PHOTOS)

(21) Comments | Posted December 30, 2011 | 7:40 AM

Photographer Jeff Brouws, whose book, Approaching Nowhere, has been a touchstone for photographers and those interested in the New Topographics Movement, has been photographing and studying the plight of America's inner cities for the past 15 years. Brouws' inner-city images acutely document the economic, social and...

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Wandering And Photographing America's Rust Belt: Storefront Churches (PHOTOS)

(6) Comments | Posted December 9, 2011 | 9:00 AM

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United Christian Full Gospel, Detroit, MI

In many of the struggling inner cities of the Rust Belt, the make-shift storefront church is a common sight. In the decaying, desperate and fading old business districts of former economic powerhouses like Buffalo, Detroit and Cleveland,...

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Wandering And Photographing America's Rust Belt: Braddock, PA (PHOTOS)

(2) Comments | Posted November 29, 2011 | 7:56 AM

Though I have photographed the area many times, I still get a deep-in-the-gut sadness when pulling into Braddock, Pennsylvania. Like many of the satellite mill towns around Pittsburgh, Braddock was once a thriving, bustling and largely middle-class town. And like those towns -- Clairton, McKeesport and Homestead, for example --...

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Remnants Of The Wild West: The Photography Of Shannon Richardson

(7) Comments | Posted November 12, 2011 | 9:00 AM

We've all seen the transformation of the American landscape over these last decades. Of course, not only has the lay of our land changed, so have we. In the old factory cities of the Rust Belt, which were home to so many working-class and proud family units; in the Midwest,...

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Punk, Porn And Pictures: Photographing Drive-ins In The Rust Belt (PHOTOS)

(1) Comments | Posted October 24, 2011 | 3:40 PM

In the mid-80s, I was in a band called the Congo Eels. We called ourselves a "garage-soul" band and had a record out on the Jim's Records label (owned by Jim Spitznagel, who ran Pittsburgh's finest record store, Jim's Records). Our record was getting played every Friday night...

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David Plowden: Photographing The Soul Of America

(16) Comments | Posted October 11, 2011 | 3:58 AM

I recently spoke with photographer David Plowden from his home outside of Chicago. He was generous enough to spend a good portion of an afternoon talking about his life and his art. The full transcript of the interview, along with more examples of his wonderful work, can be found at...

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Wandering And Photographing America's Rust Belt: Laundromats

(0) Comments | Posted September 28, 2011 | 3:53 PM

As a photographer, laundromats have always been an object of fascination for me. Many have the look of worn time machines, definitely attached to a bygone era but beaten down by the passing years.

The first thing I usually look for are the utilitarian yet almost modern art-like laundromat chairs....

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