A Walk Through Downtown Peoria on August 15, 2020

A Photo Series by Adeline Ferolo 

Highlights of light pink and faded blue streak across a watercolor sky. The warm air breezes down the empty streets. Peoria’s Warehouse District is sparsely populated, as it is nicknamed for its empty industrial buildings. Every two to three blocks you will find pockets of developed areas housing restaurants and shops. People sit outside enjoying their last taste of summer. While photographing this area, I noticed a sense of hope and bliss even in a year ridden with anxiety. As you look at these images and read commentary about the context, I hope a similar feeling is communicated. 

The ADM plant located on the Illinois River
Industrial Building located on SW Adams St.

Turning the corner at Casa De Arte, a local Mexican restaurant, art gallery, and lounge, the above-pictured scene glides into my point of view. While an ethanol production plant might seem underwhelming, I was entranced by the reflection of the setting sun on the metal facade. By tweaking the color and highlights in editing software, I attempted to create a softer image, highlighting the setting sun on this summer night. 

A Horseback Riding Session off Adams Street

This series of images was unexpected. I never imagined that I would see a horse among the desolate Warehouse District alleyways. After asking for permission to snap photos, I attempted to take a mixture of both posed and candid images. The man in the yellow shirt (who brought the horse) is part of an organization called the River City Rough Riders, which connects younger kids from the west side of Peoria with the lifestyle of  farming. The Rough Riders have a ranch located near Hanna City, a village about 10 miles west of Peoria. After stumbling upon this situation and looking through the photos, I think the juxtaposition between the horse and the urban environment is an interesting combination.

Although this photo was captured by mistake, it’s my favorite in this series. While fixing the exposure levels to capture a shot of the car, a little boy ran through the frame. I thought nothing of it at the time—yet while reviewing the photos I noticed this shot. The blurred motion of the boy running in the foreground contrasting with the in-focus car in the background immediately captivated me. Specifically, the blur of the boy captures his energy and youth. While the other images in this series are aesthetically appealing, this picture provokes an emotional reaction (at least for me!).

I hope these images help you reflect on pockets of happiness from a stressful year as we prepare for change in 2021. Looking back on these photos, I feel comforted by this blissful summer night, even though it occurred during a stressful week. Sometimes moments like this remind us to recenter and take a breath before moving forward.

Boy With the Blue Car

About Adeline Ferolo

Stories, arguably, are the most underrated form of currency that floods the digital world, through highlighted Instagram posts and viral YouTube videos. As a rising senior at Richwoods High School, Adeline Ferolo aims to express herself and the issues closest to her authentically through engaging, storytelling, and other mediums. She is a competitively academic student. Her interests range across many creative outlets—as an active writer for the Richwoods Shield, the monthly school newspaper, and as a contributor to the youth-led blog EnviroWrite, which explores rising environmental concerns. Recently she has discovered her passion for the medium of film after attending the National High School Institute summer program at Northwestern University, where she had previously studied creative-intensive subjects ranging from sustainable architecture to graphic design. Within the past year, she has focused her efforts on exploring the visual medium in both her academic and personal life, opting to create experimental videos for class projects and continuing to explore different aspects of the visual language.

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