Pittsburgh Parking Lot Booths and Their Attendants by Tom M Johnson
One of my first commissions in Pittsburgh was to photograph the parking lots in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District. On a chilly late December afternoon as the turquoise sky gave way to the city lights I was struck by the isolation of a parking lot attendant sitting in his booth. Through the booth’s weathered Plexiglas I sensed his melancholy; alone with nothing other than his thoughts to keep him company. Like this man I am often alone and isolated. I felt a connection to him.
Pittsburgh is a commuter city with marginal public transportation, so most commuters drive into the city from Pittsburgh’s surrounding suburbs and are in need of a place to park. Around lower Pittsburgh there are many parking lots, some large and corporate others small and privately owned. Many are ground level lots that are typically tended to by a single attendant, whose job it is to take payment and organize the coming and going of the commuters.
I am drawn to the architecture of the booths because they fit nicely within my preferred format: square. I photograph them not as obscure structures, rather I take their portraits as I see them as animate objects with a unique character developed from years of harsh climate and from hosting multiple tenants.
This project is an equal study of both the booth and the attendant. Their relationship is symbiotic: the attendant needs the booth for comfort and function; the booth needs its occupant for significance.
Tom M Johnson lives and works in Pittsburgh, PA.
To view more of Tom's work, please visit his website.