Michael Eastman, Walter Johnson & Michael E. Willis

Michael Eastman is a self-taught photographer based in St. Louis who has spent five decades documenting interiors and facades in cities as diverse as Havana, Paris, Rome, and New Orleans, producing large-scale photographs unified by their visual precision, monumentality, and painterly use of color. His photographs have appeared in Time, Life, Art in America, Art News, Art Forum, Communication Arts, and American Photographer. They reside in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the International Center of Photography, The Art Institute of Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and other prestigious institutions. His books include Havana (2011, Prestel), Vanishing America (2008, Rizzoli) and Horses (2003, Knopf).


Walter Johnson is Winthrop Professor of History and Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. Johnson grew up in Columbia, Missouri, and is a member of the Rock Bridge High School Hall of Fame (2006). His prize-winning books, Soul by Soul: Life Inside in the Antebellum Slave Market (1999) and River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Mississippi Valley’s Cotton Kingdom (2013), were published by Harvard University Press. His autobiographical essay, “Guns in the Family,” was included the 2019 edition of Best American Essays; it was originally published in the Boston Review, of which Johnson is a contributing editor. His book The Broken Heart of America: St. Louis and the Violent History of the United States was published in the spring of 2020.


Michael E. Willis founded MWA Architects Inc. in 1988 until retirement in 2016. Since 2017 he has been a design consultant and has taught at his alma mater Washington University in St. Louis (BA 1973, Masters in Architecture 1976, MSW 1976), most currently in the spring 2020 semester. MWA Architects has created master plans for mixed-income affordable housing projects in San Francisco, Oakland, Portland, and post-Katrina New Orleans. Willis has facilitated planning studies in St. Louis’ Downtown, North Central, and JeffVanDerLou neighborhoods.

Posts by Michael Eastman, Walter Johnson & Michael E. Willis

Michael Eastman photography

Ghost Towns of St. Louis

This photo, like so many of those in Michael Eastman’s beautiful, moving, beguiling, maddening collection, transmutes history into timelessness. The house stands alone outside of time. It is a token of the past detached from its actual and ongoing social history.