Friday, June 4, 2010

Photo thoughts 1 -- photogenic places

Since I embarked on my daily photo project at the beginning of this year, I am looking at the world around me with new eyes – could or should I take a picture of that? I have been pleased to discover a lot of photo ops in surroundings that otherwise would have seemed unremarkable, simply because I’ve been on the lookout.

I’ve already discovered that while you can find good photos in unlikely places, there are certain kinds of places that greatly increase your chances of a Kodak moment. In general, I find nice suburban neighborhoods to be the most difficult to photograph; everything is too boring and pretty. In a nice neighborhood your chances of a photo op are much better if there are alleys; even though things are still unremarkably nice, you’re a lot closer to them. And people let down their guard in the alley, where even the most expensive houses put their rejects and garden tools and construction materials on display.

Much more conducive to photography are older and/or run-down neighborhoods, and older industrial areas. Retail spaces are OK if they’re small and/or old. Big stores are OK only if you go around behind to the loading area and the dumpster. Construction and demolition sites and abandoned buildings are always good.

older neighborhoods

nice neighborhood -- alley view

abandoned factory

back door -- bar by the airport

My husband helps tutor recent immigrants in an ESL program two days a week, and guess what – recent immigrants end up living and going to school in older and/or run-down parts of town. I like to go with him and walk for two hours while he tutors; it’s good for my fitness routine and I know I will get excellent pictures in this low-end but photogenic neighborhood.

low-rent apartments



  1. these are awesome Kathy. Really interesting to look at and it must be a great visual treasure hunt.

  2. Funny you should post about this, I find this to be very true. That is partly why Saginaw is so photogenic!

    BTW, thanks for posting your "art a day:" series. It has inspired me and gotten me into the sewing room for at least 5 minutes every day!

    Also, I tried out your April techinique for inserting skinny pieces. You sure have this figured out! I will send you a pic when I finish my piece with this technique.

  3. Katy knows what few other people do, that I was born in Saginaw, where she lives. We have corresponded on various subjects since "meeting" on the Quiltart list, most recently about some lovely photos she took of Saginaw in all its slightly decrepit glory. I don't think I can put a link into a comment box, but check out her photos at

    or click on her name in the comment above and scroll down to her March 27 post.

    thanks for your good words, Katy!