Trenton where we live from Lauren Otis on Vimeo.

In the 1990s, I was a relatively recent transplant to Trenton. I was a young father, and during the week I had a long commute to my work in Hoboken. But on weekends, to unwind, I would take my camera and explore the neighborhoods of the city. I grew to know, and love, the gritty streetscapes, but most of all I enjoyed the people I met and photographed, their almost universal warmth, openness and dignity. Taking their portraits was an excuse to engage them. I have nothing but fond memories of these connections.

A number of these street images were exhibited at the time, but most weren’t. Recently, I had the opportunity to resurrect them, as part of a photography show at 219 Gallery on Hanover Street in Trenton. That gallery’s gritty location, scrappy energy and street aesthetic seemed to fit these images perfectly. It provided a venue to look back into the city’s recent past, and take stock of how things have changed, and how they have not. I made a video of the street photographs for the show, and titled it “Trenton where we live” after a 1991 rap single by a local group called Almighty and K.D. Ranks. That single provides the soundtrack to this video.

A larger selection of individual images from that time is below.