My home of Allston, a neighborhood of Boston, isn't known for being the most affluent or upscale area. Most people know it as "rat city" or "the rat's nest," two nicknames it has rightfully earned. There's a thin layer of dirt, grit, and grease covering everything. There's a growing homeless problem. And occasionally there's an STD epidemic.

But there's also a unifying beauty to the neighborhood, and it's not the kind you get from lawns manicured to Home Owner's Association standards.

What do you get when you mix drunken Boston University undergrads with yuppies and dropouts trying to make their way in the world with a struggling population forced farther out from downtown Boston by skyrocketing real estate prices?

Art. There's a self-awareness in the population that both mocks and loves Allston. As if rebelling against its shittiness (one stencil seen in several places around Allston reads "KEEP ALLSTON SHITTY"), the people create art, party together, and foster community religiously. Which in turn makes Allston no less dirty, but a tight-knit family of people who would take a bullet for their friends, but would never take shit from an outsider.

With this photo project (which I shot for an Electric Forest competition), I aimed to capture that spirit of Allston.

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