Artist's Statement

Liz Moskowitz

Scanned black and white, medium format film

20"x20" digital archival prints

“East Austin is only East Austin for its history, and churches tell its story.” - Associate Minister Floyd Baker Jr.

Using black and white, medium format film, this project in progress documents the smaller African American churches and congregations in East Austin, Texas. Undoubtedly, churches are a focal point of East Austin's history. As this area of the city undergoes rapid changes to its physical and cultural landscape, the traditional role of churches as the center of community life has shifted. These churches embody a culture with a vibrant past, a resilient present, and a potentially tenuous future. They contain a rich heritage and perspective that this social documentary project hopes to acknowledge and honor.

The churches represent a larger story taking place, one of rapid development and displacement, racial inequity, and a growing city primarily focused on the future. As I've shared my project with others, it resonated with many people who recognized the significance of paying homage to havens that were traditionally a source of hope, support, and guidance, and continue to be so today. In 2017, local nonprofits Six Square and Preservation Austin held an exhibit of select 20"x20" archival digital prints from the project in conjunction with a community event that brought people from all over East Austin to discuss how they were impacted by the issues the images explored.

To execute this project, I have used a twin lens medium format camera with 120 film and then developed and scanned the negatives. The final version of the work is either 20"x20" archival digital prints or electronically displayed via a projector. With most photo projects, there are many intricate layers, both seen and unseen, and my hope is to respectfully document what came before and is today.