Photographs that meditate on the vanishing place of mobile home parks in the landscape of Miami
“An urgent and timely series of images that capture compounding crises of our time. This book contributes to the ever-growing, fascinating, and terrifying investigations of South Florida as a harbinger for the remainder of the nation.”—Tatiana McInnis, author of To Tell a Black Story of Miami
“Waisman’s photographic collection offers a firm and impassioned grip on that frailest of dwellings—the ‘mobile home’ on the shifting South Florida landscape. Consider it a window onto a Miami too often overlooked.”—N. D. B. Connolly, author of A World More Concrete: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida
“Sunset Colonies tells an important story about the most modest of American dreams. Once upon a time, trailer parks were a realistic option for a diverse cast of Americans navigating the route to upward mobility and independence or seeking a modicum of security in retirement. For a long time now, such communities have been a disappearing and neglected part of the national landscape. Thankfully, compassionate and socially conscious artists like Diego Waisman are paying close attention to the human dramas and tragedies that are playing out all around us every day, and in plain sight.”—Brad Zellar, author of House of Coates
“This book will be of interest to photography enthusiasts, those seeking to understand the problems facing home ownership, and those wanting to change the lives of marginalized people in our community.”—Tony Chirinos, photographer
In a collection of images that are both quiet and telling, Sunset Colonies portrays the vulnerabilities experienced by residents of South Florida’s mobile home communities amid rapid urban transformation and the threat of economic displacement. Photographer Diego Waisman captures a fractured sense of place in Miami-area neighborhoods that once flourished but are now increasingly forgotten.
Essays by scholars Amy Galpin, Louis Herns Marcelin, and Alpesh Kantilal Patel give context to the current situation of these trailer parks, which at first promised their occupants stability, affordable housing, and for many, a comfortable retirement. But development initiatives, surging rent prices, and environmental hazards have disrupted this dream. Waisman’s images, collected over seven years, ruminate on worn corrugated exteriors, cracked ceramic tile, and the looming construction of luxury apartment buildings nearby.
An homage to a way of life that is quickly slipping away, Sunset Colonies raises urgent questions about the invisibility of mobile communities, their histories, and their potential futures. Waisman also emphasizes the strength and resilience of people whose definition of home lies in the balance between memory and encroaching reality. Together, the images and essays in this book create a multilayered meditation on place, community, and dignity.
Diego Alejandro Waisman is a Buenos Aires–born, Miami-based visual artist whose work explores social and economic displacement, exile, family, identity, and origins. He has exhibited and received accolades for his work in South Florida and around the world.
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