Faded Streets was a website created in 2007 as a diary for Romek Rasenas’ snapshot photographs. The intent was to carve out a space that explored the mundane aspects of everyday life through growing up skateboarding in Boston. Pursuing a BFA at MassArt and living in Mission Hill, Romek turned to his newly formed friendships for material.
An experimental mobile blog platform was added to the site next. It was a simple text-to-post blog format, with pixelated flip phone cameras as the medium. Usernames were created for friends not only living in Boston but Western Massachusetts, the Berkshires, Albany, New York City and eventually the West Coast. Within weeks, hundreds of photos were posted. This offered an unrivaled connection within the group pre-Instagram, sans the social bragging baggage and tiresome expectations that come with social media. Within 6 years more than 10,000 images amassed.
In Orchard’s Extension space, three different aspects of imagery from the site are addressed. In room one of three, four digital chromogenic prints sized 30” by 40” are displayed. These will be selected among work from Romek, Ray Echevers, Jason Lee, and Jose Obando that highlight moments shot on actual film.
The second of three rooms is a replica of the living room where the group would hang out daily, outfitted with a couch, coffee table, tv, beer-stained carpet, and more. The living room is a central theme throughout the photographs showcased, and is the common denominator that relates the late night party photos to the sun-filled afternoon hangouts seen in the show.
The third and largest room makes use of the collected cell phone imagery. The immense visual vocabulary created after years of posting was edited down to 450 prints. These photos cover three walls, with images consisting of anything from pizza slices to emptied bank accounts, counteracting traditional photography which is usually to commemorate symbolic events or important achievements. Blurry cellular images with harsh uneven flash and pixelated cell phone cameras suggest the apathetic attitude common amongst the contributors.