Teri Darnell, Inc.

Cheshire Bridge Road is an alluring look into the lives of a diverse urban community within Atlanta, Georgia.

Initially, I began this project as a way to get exercise, then it turned into a passion. For the last twenty years, I lived in a neighborhood along Cheshire Bridge Road know as Atlanta’s Red Light District. For twelve of those years, I submersed myself into the culture by walking up and down this infamous one mile road photographing people, and the environment.

On my journey, I discovered that Cheshire Bridge Road provides a community where all people are free to live with the person they are inside regardless of sexuality, gender, and race.

A couple years ago, Cheshire Bridge Road began suffering from an explosion of redevelopment. Many decades old small businesses are being demolished and replaced with high rise apartments, and storage facilities.

Still, seedy strip clubs, sex shops, and gay nightclubs line Cheshire Bridge Road. Drag shows come alive most nights of the week, as they have been for decades.

Drag queens have a tight community of support. After hours of preparation, they are rewarded with one dollar bills during their performance, one dollar at a time. They perform not for the money, but for the love shared with each other. For many, this night job is their ‘day job’, and only income.

The strip club ‘Doll House’ was recently demolished, but others remain. Strip club performers are not looking for community support. One woman told me ‘the real money is back there’ where she hustled off with an overweight middle aged sweaty man in a polyester business suit after I took her picture. She said, "I’ll be back in ten minutes", but she didn’t come back.

Soon, many long-time patrons of Cheshire Bridge Road won’t be coming back either. The establishments are disappearing quickly. It’s just a matter of time before this unique community is forced to disperse, the diversity along this road no longer exists, and the opportunity to live freely gives way to heartless steel structures.

Atlanta's Red Light District - Cheshire Bridge Road

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