"I began taking photographs so that I could paint and draw from my own compositions.   I discovered that a camera gives an artist a license into the lives of people you would not otherwise have access to. There is a trust between the artist and the sitter. Most of the photographs I have taken have been portraits- shot with a 35 mm camera - with black and white film printed on fiber based paper. Many of the photographs have been of my home and my family. In the words of Imogene Cunningham," What could I do - I couldn't get out of the garden."

Maria Cardillo

In 1985 I moved to Chattanooga which sits on the Tennessee River at a beautiful spot where the river winds around through the Appalachians. Chattanooga was known as the Dynamo of Dixie in the 1930’s because of its foundries and factories, but the mountains that create the scenic backdrop for the city also served to trap air pollutants.  Chattanooga was essentially a Southern Rust Belt city.  

I began photographing industrial parks in 2005, after photographing the Chattanooga Glass Company in film, both Black and White and Color. The colorful rust and steel captured me. I have enjoyed photographing things that don’t move - that is until their demolition. Although Chattanooga Glass no longer excises, I have since gone back to photograph the remains.

Over the past ten years I have been shooting with a digital camera. I now find myself in abandoned warehouses. Although there are no longer people in my photographs I am haunted by those that once worked in these spaces.

This latest series of photographs is of U S Pipe and Steel and Wheland Foundry which is now Perimeter Properties.  It like many foundries in Chattanooga has shut down. Although it is no longer a working foundry the owners await the end of this current recession with the hope of developing this shut down factory into a market place. As a result our air is cleaner and we are left with the remains. My images are of weathered steel and abstract portraits of the colorful Southern Rust Belt in large format, printed on metal.  There is beauty in Chattanooga’s industrial past and its progressive future.