Dale Rio

Photographer
The Borscht Belt
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Nationality: American
Biography: I am a photographer who has been shooting and printing my own work for nearly thirty years.  I received an MFA in photography from Pratt Institiute in 1996 and a Fulbright Travel Grant and the Miguel Vinciguerra Grant in 1997.  Since... read on
Public Story
The Borscht Belt
Credits: dale rio
Updated: 08/28/15
I have always been fascinated by abandoned places, particularly those that were of great importance in their heyday.  I recently discovered the Borscht Belt, an area of the Catskills that boasted an enormous number of massive, luxury resorts and more modest bungalow communities for much of the 20th century.  It was a place where people from New York City, (particularly Jews), spent their summers, and many great musicians and comedians got their start there.  A number of factors - use of air conditioning, an increase in airplane travel, and a decrease in anti-semitism - contributed to the decline of the Borscht Belt.  Most of the resorts and bungalow communities are abandoned or have been razed, apart from a handful that are still operational, some clinging to life.  It is mind-blowing to think of the sheer number of buildings that once existed in the area and are now gone.
I started making trips to the Borscht Belt to shoot in the winter of 2015 and am collaborating with an historian on a project focusing specifically on the bungalow communities.  We chose this focus because although research exists on the resorts, little has been done in regard to the more humble bungalow communities. 
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By Dale Rio —

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The Black Mambas APU

By Dale Rio — In November, I traveled to South Africa to create portraits of members of the Black Mambas all-female..
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By Dale Rio — These images represent my experiments with pinhole photography.  Some are part of a "Work-a-day..
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In Absentia

By Dale Rio — This body of work features places that once buzzed with life but are now devoid of humanity.  Places..
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Maasai Olympics

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Terry Collection

By Dale Rio — The Terry Collection is a world-renowned forensic anthropology collection housed at the Smithsonian..
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By Dale Rio — Historic Route 66 exemplifies the interconnectedness of history, emotion, and humanity‚Äôs complicated..
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Band Archive

By Dale Rio — From the 1990s through the early 2000s, I photographed a lot of bands in New York and elsewhere.  I was..
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Mt. Moriah Cemetery

By Dale Rio — Mt. Moriah is a cemetery in Philadelphia that was created in the 1800s as an alternative to the crowded and..
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Portraits

By Dale Rio — This portfolio contains portraits that I've made over the past fifteen years or so.  The photos..
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Superfund

By Dale Rio — Superfund sites are those deemed contaminated or polluted by the Environmental Protection Agency, which then..
VISUAL STORY

One Nation, Oblivious

By Dale Rio — A few years ago, I was struck by the number of people who nearly walked into me because they were so..
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