I don’t often get the blues, but on a walk around LoDo with my camera last Sunday, “I got the blues — I got ‘em bad”, as B.B. King once wrote.
The reason for my blues was that on this exploration of downtown, I was confronted by the “closed” signs taped to the windows and doorways of many businesses. One can read the newspapers, see the stories on TV, and hear the radio reports about our current economic struggles, but such accounts often don’t convey the true human tragedy playing out before our eyes.
Seeing these “closed” signs on storefront after storefront brought it all home for me.
This economic crisis caused by the pandemic is painfully real for the employees and owners of these businesses that have been shut down. Behind every one of these signs is the crashing of someone’s livelihood, dreams, investments, and contributions to the economic vitality of our city.
These signs are symbols of the loss of our optimism, the loss of our sense of community and the loss of our feeling of security and well-being. We took a lot for granted before. Not anymore.
These signs also say a lot about us. Some are creative and colorful. Some are simple black-and-white. Some are reflective. Some encourage us onward. Some cling to threads of business life as it was before. All of them are reaching out to us in some way, not knowing what we’ll find on the other side of this crisis.
It’s grim out there. That’s why I got the blues, but I’ll shake them and look forward to better times.
Todd Bacon is a professional photographer living in Denver.
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