Main Streets are a gathering place for commerce, community and collaboration. They can be found in every city, town or village throughout the world.
This issue illustrates the variations in main streets functions; from community spaces that have evolved over centuries, to the water streets of Venice, to the wooden streets of Selawik, Alaska. Main streets are a representation of the town or city in which they've evolved. Visitors can often look to main streets as an indicator of the health, strengths and character of a community.
In the United States, we are faced with the loss of the traditional main street, as communities favor big box stores and utilitarian shopping centers that sprawl out to the edges of cities. This issue focuses on the main streets that define communities as walkable streetscapes, or community gathering places. The traditional main street has a place in the American landscape that should be persevered for future generations.
Christopher Rolinson discovered his passion for photography in 1996 at Slippery Rock University after a tour of duty in the US Army.
Upon graduation in 2000, Rolinson practiced photojournalism at the Steubenville, Ohio Herald-Star. There, Rolinson documented day-to-day life in the sometimes gritty communities situated along the upper Ohio River Valley.
In 2001 Rolinson documented the war ravaged Former Yugoslav Republic of Kosovo. The subsequent work was published in the Herald-Star. This endeavor emboldened Rolinson's passion for the history of conflict, culture and conquest in Eastern Europe. He has since returned to the region two more times to document and understand the diverse cultures of the Slovak Republic.
In 2004 Rolinson began the ambitious project of documenting Pennsylvania's state parks and wild places. He challenged the stereotype that Pennsylvania was a rusting industrial region, but due to its geography, contains numerous wild places. It was his quest to increase awareness and participation in the appreciation and preservation of Pennsylvania's remaining wildernesses. The compilation, Our State Parks, was published in 2009. Since 2008, the collective works have existed as a traveling exhibition that continue to be shown in numerous venues throughout western Pennsylvania.
In 2005, Rolinson was a U.S. National Parks Service Artist-in-Residence at Amistad National Recreation Area in Del Rio, Texas. There, he documented the hard-scrambled landscapes and culture of the desert border region. Also, while in residence, he created a youth photography program which provided cameras to local children as a way to record the beautiful, personal and ironic images of where they live. His most recent expedition was an exploration of Alaska's interior region.
Rolinson began experimenting with Gigapan imaging in 2008. He is researching and experimenting with methods to further develop functional non-linear interactive documentary and photojournalistic gigapixel photography. With his research, he hopes to prove that gigapixel images offer potential for increased interactivity between the viewer and the story. He is currently a contributing editor to Gigapan Magazine.
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