Main Avenue

  • Aperture: f/5
  • Focal Length: 18mm
  • Shutter: 1/400 sec
  • Camera: NIKON D1H

Northport, Alabama

I had intended to post a different photograph today, but a series of emails changed my mind and took me on a trip down memory lane, or in this case, Main Avenue. You see, I used to be a writer. Yeah, I know — you would never guess it by looking at this website. But the truth of the matter is that I was a writer first. I joined a stable of freelancers at my local weekly before progressing on to become a staff writer and photographer, studying journalism in college, and becoming editor of my own paper. I stopped being a writer on July 8, 2002.

This street meant a lot to me during the time that I was an editor. It is the heart of my little town, a quaint mixture of art galleries, upper-scale shops and restaurants, and family-owned businesses like the barber shop, hardware store, and five and dime. It’s a nice place to live, and it was a nice place to work. I moved here to be closer to my paper. I stay here because… well, I don’t know.

I like it here. It’s quiet and peaceful, a little slice of Mayberry just across the river from a bustling college town. It’s new age artsy mixed with old-time historic. In short, it’s home. Of course, I can’t see this view from my door (I live about a half-mile down to the left) and I couldn’t see it from my desk window at my old office (located behind the businesses to the right). But I knew it was there, and even though I am no longer an editor, I find a reason to go downtown as often as I can. Somehow, this town has imprinted itself on my heart, and I can’t seem to shake it, any more than I can shake the writing out of my photography though I try.

When I was an editor, I longed for my carefree days as a photographer. And now that I am a photographer, I find that my writing creeps into my emails, saturates my photo captions, permeates my speech. Why should I be surprised then when the same thing happens to my email inbox? Today brings one unexpected photo request for a very intriguing project, one job posting which would return me to a job not unlike my old one, and one question from a reader of this site asking whether I have ever been paid as a writer. Fate has a strange way of working in my life — I can hardly wait to see where this road is going to lead.

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