Hours of Idleness-A Photographer's Journey in St. Louis

The Levee Project

Posted in art, awareness, photography by Jason Gray on July 12, 2011

The Mississippi River has long been an obstacle and a supplier of life for the people who have lived alongside it. This precarious relationship informs our interpretation of the river, even while its unpredictable ebbs and flows sustain the water’s inherent mystery. The destructive power of the Mississippi is an affront to man’s industry, and an impossible riddle long tried to be overcome. The current Levee System which parallels the river’s banks is mankind’s best answer so far. The space occupied by this manmade intrusion is self-contradicting, at some points it is an otherworldly place where few people venture, while at others, it is the region where commerce brushes against the river’s edge. However, the levee is always a place where life and death converge; hope balanced by disaster in equal proportions. With this series, I have attempted to document the area in between the levee walls and the river; a process that condenses the expansive concept of these locations near the city of St. Louis, Missouri into a rambling compound sentence that hopefully expresses something of the dichotomous nature of life along the Mississippi River.

Download the free iBook of this series here.

More trips to the Levee:



6 Responses

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  1. jessruhlin said, on September 19, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    These are amazing! I’m so happy that I came across your post. I actually work for a magazine here in stl and had to research bloggers for Fashion Week, so that’s how I stumbled across your blog. Very cool! Do you ever photograph dancers? You can see my site at http://jessruhlin.wordpress.com if you want to see some pictues of some of the dancers I work with. Maybe I’ll see you at fashion week this year 🙂

  2. Jason Gray said, on September 22, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    Hi Jess,


    I have not really had an opportunity to photograph dancers, but I would definitely be interested. Let me know if you are ever looking to pose, and/or feel free to pass my name along.

    Good luck with your research!


  3. […] or the evolution of an idea over time (Jeff Wall, Richard Avedon). Here are some images from my Levee Project, 2012- […]

  4. […] those in St. Louis this summer), yet I still managed to get out and do some work towards my ongoing Levee Project. On this excursion, I concentrated my focus on an area north of downtown near where a large […]

  5. […] trip to the Mississippi River Levee, and another 100 degree day… This drought and record temperature combo is getting to be […]

  6. […] blog reached 150,000 hits and 60 followers (thank you). I also started three new bodies of work (The Levee Project, The Diversity Project, and Self/Unself). Additionally, I had the opportunity to collaborate with […]

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