Our No Place by Kelly K. Jones

Issue 44

My photographs of North Lawndale, the west side Chicago neighborhood where I was born and raised, offer an intimate view of place and belonging. Navigating between the record and the metaphor, these images allow for an investigation of surroundings and identity.

Our No Place reveals a stereotype and offers a tension. These photographs are unsettling and meditate on the unfixed: unfixed identity, unfixed space, and unfixed environment. This place is born as plants and trees flourish and then take over abandoned inner city lots. Looking closely, bits of trash are revealed among the wild flowers and tall grasses. In the distance telephone poles and power lines tell of a real location – not simply a constructed utopia for the camera. These spaces are part dumping ground, part playground and part oasis for my community.

I photograph the people I love. My family. My next-door neighbors. My friends. This is my home. Many of the photographs were made on the block on which I live. These are spaces that are passed around and through each day. These spaces, while personal, are also neutral. This is not the studio (the photographer’s space) and this is not the sitter’s home (the subject’s space). There is a collaboration that occurs in this outdoor place that may not be possible elsewhere. These are spaces open to interpretation and ripe with fantasy.

Our No Place affects a new way of seeing – a new way of experiencing the inner city and a new way of considering the figure. I pick and pull at what an urbanscape “ought to” look like. Our No Space questions behavior, environment and ultimately, identity.

Kelly K. Jones is a Chicago, IL based photographer and is currently serving as Faculty Fellow at the University of Georgia (Athens, GA).
To view more of Kelly's work, please visit her website

  Willette and Her Sister, 2011  

Willette and Her Sister, 2011  

  Pazlee on Graduation Day, 2012 

Pazlee on Graduation Day, 2012 

  Kwalique on His Uncle’s car, 2011

Kwalique on His Uncle’s car, 2011

  Cornrow, 2012 

Cornrow, 2012 

  Reading the Clover Flowers, 2011 

Reading the Clover Flowers, 2011 

  Katelin’s Green Pants, 2012  

Katelin’s Green Pants, 2012  

  Play Nana, 2011 

Play Nana, 2011 

  Red Shirt, 2011 

Red Shirt, 2011 

  My Mother and Donna, 2012 

My Mother and Donna, 2012 

  Diamond in Shadow, 2012  

Diamond in Shadow, 2012  

  Cedriana, 2011 

Cedriana, 2011 

  Corey Across the Street, 2012 

Corey Across the Street, 2012 

  TT Donna On Independence Ave, 2012 

TT Donna On Independence Ave, 2012 

  Alexis (Birthday Portrait), 2011 

Alexis (Birthday Portrait), 2011 

  Ashley, 2011 

Ashley, 2011 

  Mimi (18th and Ridgeway), 2011 

Mimi (18th and Ridgeway), 2011