A friend of mine (who just happens to like B&W photography alot) invited me recently to the small town of Locke, California, for some photography. He mentioned it was an old Chinese town, built and inhabited by the Chinese that came to work the railroad and gold mines and support services for those things. I was intrigued by that, and set a date to meet him there. When I arrived, my first reaction was "interesting, (read) funky, but where are the photos?" At first glance, the place was dilapidated, funky, and very small. How were we going to spend a half day photographing here? I was sure I'd be done in an hour or less. So first, we went for lunch - to fortify our creativity - and the more I settled in to the surroundings, the more things I saw.
Afterwards we walked the streets, all two of them, looking for photos. I set a goal to capture things that expressed a sense of place - that old travel photographer in me just can help it - and so I looked for Chinese signs, things that intermingled with today's shops that are there. I looked for architecture, something that might define a Chinese influence, but really didn't find any of that. But I did find interesting slatted structures that protected the fronts of the buildings from the strong, summer sun, providing cooling for the thin wooden buildings. I began to see in B&W, too!
And, I looked at the people - not so much the inhabitants, because they were few and far between, but the visitors - the motorcyclists, and other travelers that came through to have a drink at the well-known bar. Although the place was really small, I ended up having fun, and making a few interesting pictures of the place. All because I was being open to what was there, letting myself wander and get into the spirit of this old place. I find that more times than not, if I can go out and be open to what's in front of me, I'll find good things to photograph.
Have a great week of photography,