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Gravel Pit, 50 Years On, Algonquin, IL, 2022

In late 1962 I moved to an area at the edge of Chicago suburbs and rural Illinois. It was also home to numerous gravel pits. The last glaciation had marched south and stopped in northern Illinois. As it melted, creeks and rivers of water poured from its edge, automatically separating small, medium and large gravel. Now, just below the surface and descending into the water table, this pre-sorted gravel was there for the taking. For forty years I drove in this region, replacing my windshield glass about once a decade due to flying rocks from the numerous gravel trucks.

The nearest gravel pit was not far from my home, but the road leading there was shoulderless and narrow, making biking a challenge. Not until I was a teenager did I begin exploring the gravel pit. I was especially drawn to the abandoned areas where nature had reclaimed the land with unusual plants. The deep topsoil found elsewhere was missing at the pit.

Over my fifty plus years of visiting the gravel pit much has changed. Portions are now low lying housing developments, but I recall those areas' earlier condition. Other areas remain undisturbed from my earliest visits. For this shoot I focused on a crude but substantial structure and its immediate environment. It has decayed over the years, and trees have sprung up despite the prevalence of gravel and broken concrete on the ground.
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