Frederick, Maryland feels like many things today.
It is, on one hand, a deeply historic place. So much so, one can feel a shroud of lively spirits about, a sort-of psychic mist, a creakiness, that pervades the community, its landmarks, the old buildings, the underground taverns — and by all accounts its people. In that sense, Frederick is beguilingly charming with its skyline of clustered spires, and noteworthy historic city center along the central drag of Market Street.
The city’s venerable beginnings date to the turn of the 18th century. Its people were American colonists under the 6th Lord Baltimore, Frederick Calvert. As history ensued, bringing with it an inevitable revolution against England, Frederick stood as an established County, and its patrons and fathers moved forward, patriots all. They were English-born aristocrats, politicians, industrialists, doctors, farmers–and expats. These would be a mix of ethnic Germans, Evangelical Lutherans, Methodists and British Catholics, the latter who, by 1776, could openly practice Catholicism, following the repeal in the region of British penal laws by Pope Pius VI.
Frederick is also, as modern cities go, provincial, unconventional and downright seedy. Today, the city and its outlying neighborhoods are something of a modern-day urban petri dish where coexisting are its oldest families and leaders alongside a swath of lower income populations, from the woefully disenfranchised (read: women and children, trans, blind, damaged, old), and droves of mentally suffering homeless, to individuals of all ages who populate a robust heroin scene. Among its less entitled citizenry — and you can feel on the streets and by the pulse of the town — it is as if pride and self-worth face off regularly, incessantly, against humiliation and hopelessness.
And, so, we chose to document the whole mix in a series of photos…