By my own definition, urban wandering photography is a visual exploration of the city. It is similar to documentary photography but less formal. In addition to architecture, it covers street scenes, found objects and various curiosities. It is perhaps closest to street photography, but in my case it doesn’t focus on people and even avoids depicting them.
While urban wandering conjures the images of flâneurs and flâneuses, an urban wanderer is not an idle bourgeois, but an engaged citizen who adores the city and uses photography to illuminate relevant issues, directly or indirectly.
It is helpful to occasionally wander off into other neighborhoods, but walking in one’s own neighborhood every day makes one notice and capture things that fluctuate and change. Any type of camera works for urban wandering, but iPhone suits me best. I started out as a film and darkroom nerd, but the quality and immediacy of iPhone photography won me over.
Pike Place Market lovers and followers of late John Stamets’ work will remember his late eighties photo book Portrait of a Market. In August 2017, the Stamets family and Friends of the Market created an exhibit of John’s panoramic photos, digitally reproduced and placed in the same locations the original photos were taken. The program included a docent-led tour and opportunities to document the Market with our own cameras. This is a snapshot of the market through my lens. John Stamets was one of my most influential photo-mentors, and this essay honors him as well as this important Seattle landmark.