Inspiring, Life

“I Am Dying of Thirst- Vine City Matters,” An Exploration of Gentrification and Poverty in Atlanta by Rose Smith

I am Dying of Thirst- Vine City Matters

Atlanta, the Southern Hollywood, is highlighted for its trendy lifestyle and affluent culture in the arts and nightlife, but like any major city, there are parts that are often neglected and hardly mentioned. Vine City is a historical district in Atlanta–home of historically black universities, Clark, Spelman and Morehouse, but this town once rich in ancestral spirit is now a Ghetto. Drugs, homelessness, violence and poverty are slowly killing the bodies and spirits of the black men, women and children that are forced to live there. The people are either too comfortable to know anything better for themselves or struggling to leave. To make matters worse, there are millions of tax dollars going into a project in their very neighborhood, but nothing is being done about the health and welfare of their poverished community.

If gentrification takes place, it will wipe out the people who will then become the missing pieces erasing the history of Vine City.”

Documentary Photographer Rose Smith took her passion for photography and anger toward the gentrification and abandonment in Atlanta and captured Vine City in this inspiring series,  I am Dying of Thirst- Vine City Matters. She was inspired by the current events in our country that sparked the Black Lives Matter Movement as well as her childhood visits to neighborhoods similar to Vine City. The photos snapshot the lifestyle of the homeless and gang members. Viewers see a neglected community of dilapidated homes–boarded homes with “HELP US” spelled out, and walls once bare, are now canvases for an angry community, “F*ck the Police.”

“I am Dying of Thirst- Vine City Matters,  sheds light on the qualities of a community that exudes the feeling of being half dead but still alive, exemplifying that there is still a great amount of hope and light seeping through the cracks of this dark conspicuous tunnel. It is an ongoing project alluding to the fact that not only do black lives matter here but more importantly, their history and stories matter. If gentrification takes place, it will wipe out the people who will then become the missing pieces erasing the history of Vine City.”  -Rose Smith



vinecity_imatter0026 vinecity_imatter0017 vinecity_imatter06 vinecity_imatter07vinecity_imatter013






My cousins were raised in the inner city of Atlanta, while we resided in a middle-class predominantly white neighborhood in North Georgia. I remember spending weekends with them, walking around their neighborhood hearing gunshots firing off in the air.” -Rose Smith



vinecity_imatter0015 vinecity_imatter003 vinecity_imatter0022 vinecity_imatter0020 vinecity_imatter0021



It is projects such as this one that encourages change, and what better way to bring awareness to sedated subjects then through art and passion, and that is exactly what Rose has done in I am Dying of Thirst-Vine City Matters. Each photo captures the spirit of this dying neighborhood, and because it is an on going project for Rose, we will continue to see these stories unravel.

Rose Smith is a writer and documentary photographer born in Memphis and based out of Atlanta, obtaining her BFA at SCAD Atlanta. She spends most of her time studying the aftermath of the African Diaspora and the Black Culture through reading, watching documentaries and discovering and rediscovering Jazz and Blues musicians.  Her upcoming work will focus on the elements of being black in America and the massive trend of urban culture. Her mission is to inspire and be a light, sharing perspective, peace and love through her work.

You can find Rose and more of her work on instagram  @c.rosesmith and be sure to stay tuned for updates on this project here on The Zeal Life.