on january 6, 2012, the city of oakland, ca was voted #5 on a list of 45 places to visit in 2012 by the new york times. places like panama, helsinki, finland, myanmar, and london were the only ones that ranked higher. the ranking wasn’t altogether unwarranted. oakland is a pretty unique and spectacular place, but there’s a lot more beneath the surface. i came to the bay area 15 years ago and have worked in oakland for the last 9. the oakland that i first knew is not the one being hailed as a place to go in 2012. that oakland has gone through years of gentrification, which has been positive, but there is a story that is not being told amongst all the new paint, concrete, restaurants, and free shuttle buses. i see it as i walk to work, or go to church. i hear it in conversations. i see it covered on the news in sparing fashion. it’s a history and story that needs attention and documenting and one that i’m willing to tell. oakland | underground is one of two feature/documentary style photography projects i’ll be working on during the year 2012 and 2013. it’s my artistic ode to a city that i’ve come to love and appreciate that also has a lot of stories to tell.