Today we’re pleased to present a brief writeup by photographer Tieshka K. Smith, who was an artist in residence at the Oak Park Public Library in Illinois earlier this year. The resulting series, Oak Park After Dark, is a beautiful study of a community in the crisp clarity of Midwestern winter nights. ~Laura

by Tieshka K. Smith

In December 2014, I was invited by representatives of the Library and the Oak Park Area Arts Council to hang selections from my ongoing series of photos of northwest Philadelphia. So in January of this year, I came to Chicago (my hometown) and mounted two installations, one at the library and the other at Oak Park Village Hall. I gave two artist talks. One was about the work in the context of urban neighborhoods in transition; the other one was about the Oak Park After Dark series, which I discuss below.

Over the six-week period I was [in residence at the library], I decided to create a new body of work entitled Oak Park After Dark, a compilation of nighttime photos of Oak Park’s built environment (its architecture, its housing stock and how it is organized to uphold and disrupt the status quo). This series was conceived out of curiosity, fueled by conversations I had with library staff and birthed after many hours spent walking the streets of Oak Park, always after dusk and sometimes in the snow and bitter cold.

Oak Park After Dark series. Photography by Tieshka K. Smith.

Oak Park After Dark series. Photography by Tieshka K. Smith.

Oak Park After Dark series. Photography by Tieshka K. Smith.

Oak Park After Dark series. Photography by Tieshka K. Smith.

Oak Park After Dark series. Photography by Tieshka K. Smith.

Oak Park After Dark series. Photography by Tieshka K. Smith.

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