What’s it like to move into the so-called hottest real-estate market in the country? In this essay, we look at life in a Northern California city as it grapples with extremes of wealth and poverty.
Photographs by Carolyn Drake
VALLEJO, CALIFORNIA, WAS NOT Magnum photographer Carolyn Drake’s first choice when she and her partner were contemplating a move from Athens, Georgia. But for the past year and a half, Drake has been documenting life in her new home, a place on the verge of profound change.
Less than a decade ago, the once-industrial North Bay city filed for bankruptcy. Now, in mid-2017, as the tech industry has spread its tentacles across the Bay Area, Vallejo is consistentlybilled as “the hottest real-estate market in the country” by numerous media outlets. It’s an uneasy mix of boarded-up storefronts and glossy renovations, a place whose contradictions speak to national trends of urbanization and gentrification. For a photographer just getting to know a new neighborhood, there’s a lot to see.