Monday, January 16, 2012

Ice Carnival: Scenes from The Delmar Loop

Hello friendsit's been awhile! Before getting to the main purpose of this post, I thought I'd share some thoughts on this blog in general and where I see it going.

When I started this site in April 2010, my intent was to write regularly about issues affecting the City of St. Louis. Among other topics, I wrote a number of posts about the Missouri historic tax credit, the possible re-entry of the City into St. Louis County, and the Archgrounds project. I remain very interested in these specific topics and urban issues in general. My interest in writing about them, though, has waned over the last year for several reasons.

First, I just haven't had time to focus on writing. Between the birth of my third child in March 2011 and opening my solo law practice in July, keeping a blog up to date has moved pretty far down my list of priorities. There will continue to be issues that I want to write about from time to time, but for the foreseeable future I think that most of the writing I have time for will be on legal topics for my law firm website.

Second, with the "free" time I do have, I want to spend as much of it as possible on what has grown to be a huge passion of mine: photography. I have always enjoyed taking photographs, but my interest in it has grown exponentially over the last yearprimarily as a result of exploring the City in connection with this blog (funny how things take you to completely unexpected places).

Over time, my posts here have become more and more photo-oriented (see here, here, here, here, here, and here). I have compiled a large collection of photographs of St. Louis on my Flickr page, which I often share via Twitter. And though I have stated several times on this site that I'm not turning it into a "photoblog," I now think that's exactly where it is heading.

Downtown St. Louis as seen from the roof of the Moonrise Hotel.
This site isn't the only thing evolving, though. I also find my interest in photography subjects changing. In the last year or so, most of my photographs have been about "things": buildings, cityscapes, urban parks, architectural details. St. Louis has an endless supply of beautiful scenes for the budding photographer. I have greatly enjoyed getting to know the City and region better through photography, and am surprised even to have had a fair amount of commercial success with it.

If I had to pick a thing that I don't like about my own photographs, though, it is the lack of people. I have many, many shots of the Arch and riverfront, the City's great urban parks and outdoor institutions (Forest Park, Tower Grove Park, Missouri Botanical Garden, etc.), and the great architecture in the diverse neighborhoods around the City. There is an enormous amount of natural and man-made beauty in St. Louis of which its residents should be proud.

Ultimately, though, it is the people of a place, not the place itself, that truly matters. I have, however, avoided taking shots of people to date primarily because it is uncomfortable. There can be a fine line between sticking a camera in a stranger's face and respectfully capturing a public moment that is worth capturing and sharing. I think it is important that I get past my discomforts with street photography and portraiture, both to advance my photography skills and to show that St. Louis is more than a collection of pretty places and things.

I think the quality of my photographs (whatever that may now be) may suffer for some time. Compared to "urban landscape" shots, I find in street photography that it's much harder to "make a photograph" as opposed to just "taking a picture." I think that my success in achieving the former varies in the photos below. Some of the photos I have taken end up looking (to me) like uninspired snapshots; others are closer to my goal of creating a photograph that tells a story.

So, without further ado, here are some photos from the 2012 Loop Ice Carnival from this past Saturday. It was a really fun, well-done event, with throngs of people crowding one of the "10 Great Streets in America" and its businesses. Click on the photos to make them larger. For more photos of the Delmar Loop, check out my Loop photoset on Flickr.

Please let me know what you thinkparticularly you fellow photographers!

Harry Weber statue of Chuck Berry.

An artist draws caricatures in Componere, an art
gallery on the Loop. (You can find my photos there!)

The Pin-Up Bowl on the Loop.

Skateboarding on the roof of the Moonrise Hotel
Darcy Nayler, a Loop employee and friend,
enjoys a brief moment of calm during her hectic day
of organizing the Ice Carnival.

Forest Park, including the Saint Louis Art Museum,
as seen from the roof of the Moonrise Hotel
The Moonrise Hotel
The lobby of the Moonrise Hotel

Ranoush restaurant and hookah bar.

Must be a warning that you're
entering the badlands of the
City of St. Louis. ;)
Peat Wollaeger, a St. Louis artist
known as "stenSOUL"
Warm Up with the Art of Peat Wollaeger
This space was donated as a one-day pop-up
gallery for stenSOUL's work.
The art of Peat Wollaeger. See

Jerry Garcia keeps his googly-eyes on Loop visitors.

Raven Wolf, a St. Louis jazz saxist.