jeans, black lace top, Express. knee-high boots, Nine West. kimono thing, Goodwill.
Photography by Jeremy Zerbe
Towering streetlights and the headlights of downtown’s outbound traffic flow light it up. There is a perpetual bustle, the flavor of which shifts slightly depending on the day, the weather and the time. Vendors peddle ethnic foods, Steeler’s goods, and cheap fashions, and weather you’re from here, or you’re a tourist, The Strip District is some kind of epicurean wonderland with ever present echoes of the past. The scent is both putrid and enticing; the smell of Wholey’s fish market blends into Roland’s lobster rolls blends into dumpsters in back alleys blends into Mancini’s fresh baked Italian loaves blends into the caffeine candy of La Prima. There are dirty little alleyways that lead to mysterious back doors of dark, vacuous warehouses. Walls hidden behind the luster of local commerce on Penn Ave have bits of urban scrawl, simple graffiti tags with epic stories.
Penn Avenue slices through the bustle of sightseers, shoppers and club-going nightlife urchins. It’s punctured by ever-present potholes and awkward one-way side streets, and rendered narrow by parked cars and J-walkers. It oozes all of the frustrations of the Pittsburgh driving experience with its own ‘One Way’ sign and bumpy cries for some attention from Public Works. The Strip is one of Penn Ave’s many assholes but that just adds to its charm.
My fascination with the dark, metropolitan pockets of society can be a driving force behind my clothing choices. The influence is ultra sensory, but predominately visual. I’m unapologetically prone to some racy pieces, a black lace top over nothing more than a sports bra exudes that dark, nighttime rascal quality I’m so fond of. The silky top layer, a five-dollar Goodwill treasure, is comfortably garish with its shapelessness and weird green/pink floral print. It also boasts some deep pockets that have become entrapping nooks where mini Bics and little lip glosses hideaway until I feel like wearing such oddness again. I’ll slip my hands into said pockets to discover that perfect pink Lip Fusion and the decorative goldfish lighter that I thought I'd lost. So, it’s weird, comfortable, and utilitarian, all the elements I love.
In all honesty, I threw this outfit on in a hurry, as I pretty often do. It’s like Jackson Pollock styling, which is the general creative feeling of mine and Zerbe’s work.
“So, where we shooting?” is often the question, as we reach the hour we planned on shooting.
“I dunno, haven’t had time to think about it,” one, or both of us will respond.
We’re absent-minded creatives and I think the haphazardness of our images is often what makes them so damn cool. One of these days we’ll get our creative shit together, but until then we’ll proceed to apply the methods of cooking stew to fashion photography, just throwing in what we like and seeing how it tastes in the end. I really don’t think you can fuck-up stew.