Founded in the late thirties on the inland of Miami, at a height of ten feet above the sea level is Model City, more commonly known as Liberty City. Aaron Jackson has grown up in the heart of Miami that is often misrepresented and overshadowed by the glitz and glam of the surrounding areas that teem with tourists.
Getting into photography has taken up most of his time over the greater part of this past decade when he first got a camera as a gift, turning into a passion that is the driving force of his work.
When the name Liberty City comes up the average Joe will be pissing all over his Sperry’s in fear at the thought of having a broken down G-Wagon in the middle of Pork & Beans late at night. Luckily readers here are not average Joe’s and will pay attention to this, big time.
Jackson has been working on this project since December ’16 and is on the mission to show people that Liberty City is one of the more culturally thriving neighborhood in town. “Miami is getting gentrified and I want to Capture the memories that I once lived, I want to glorify the past as we are in the middle of getting out of the old and going into the new.” also mentioning that “gentrification will be the cause of many neighborhood buildings being torn down and replaced with lofts or a new shopping center” further pushing him to create a sense of longevity to his memories. The images that have been shown so far portray unity, a sense of community and prosperity.
Photos revealing children family and friends, the overshadowed beauty that is often given a blind eye. Among that there are also pictures of historical buildings, stores, schools, parks or hangout spots that are either the usual place of activity or are at the end of their days waiting to be torn down. “I had started the project in December, and being an upcoming artist from Liberty City, where Moonlight was filmed at had really inspired me to work on this project 110%. What you saw in that film is real LC, the streets, the donks, the projects…” I looked up to Uncle Luke, Trick Daddy among others, since they had made it big and got out of the projects, this is for the people living within them, to inspire them.”
I head out to meet with Aaron to shoot, it was a beautiful day as the skies were clear, the sun was beaming leaving the asphalt with a mirage like shimmer. We head out to Moore park, an older track & field park that is tucked away behind a water & sewage facility. Checking out the place and snapping a few shots Aaron mentions:
“I used to come out here all the time to play ball, before photography ball was life for me.” A couple of stops here and there, stopping at Chinese takeout spot Cafe Ru Ya, the USA Flea Market, the Dolphin’s styled convenience store by Brownsville and Northwestern High School. “
A cool thing about LC is that back then a lot of the greatest musicians would fly to Miami Beach to perform, yet being black would mean they couldn’t sleep at the hotels on the beach, so people here would get to hangout with the greats of the time.” Driving through the Pork & Beans Aaron points out to a small wall along 12th ave saying that that was basically the Berlin wall, which turns out to be true, as that was the division between the black and white neighborhoods. interestingly enough, the police dept. is two blocks away on the white side of the wall. The day wraps up with some food from Esther’s and we split paths. truly a pleasant day to tour LC.