It was hot in Pittsburgh this week. But that didn’t bother me too much. I was so happy to return to the place I call home, even if it was just for a few days.
It’s my home because it’s where I became who I am today. It made me into this person. I’ll give you a bit of background. I grew up in Central Pennsylvania, full of “small town charm” but not a place I enjoyed too much. As soon as I graduated high school I was off to the far-away place (it seemed far enough away).
The city is full of character, with historic buildings and all kinds of people. That’s the part I love the most about Pittsburgh. The people. You can meet people from all around the world just walking around downtown or the South Side. In fact, just about everywhere you go, there’s interesting people.
In 1999, I went to school at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh for Photography.
My hopes were to be the next “Martha Rial.” She’s a photojournalist who worked for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Her work inspired me to really strive to push myself to document life as it is, and find meaningful stories. That isn’t exactly how my life has turned out, but that’s where I started.
When I was in art school, it was the first time I felt accepted for who I am, and I could be me, without a doubt, one of the best turning points in my life. I found friends who valued my talent and I really grew as an adult. I made friendships that have lasted 13 years. It’s a good thing because my college roommate let me crash on her couch for this trip, saving me some money 😉
Getting back to my trip
In the last year I have fallen in love with the music of Bruno Mars. When I saw that he had a concert in Pittsburgh, I thought that was my perfect opportunity to see someone who’s music I love, and return to the city I love.
I knew that I wasn’t going to go just for the concert, but I wanted to chat with friends and see the city, remember what it was like living there, and show my sister, Melody, all the places where I worked, lived, danced, and just had a good time.
We started our trip Monday around 4 p.m. and then arrived just around 8 p.m. at Mad Mex, where my friend, Tonya works as a bartender. After a chat and some good food, we headed to Station Square, to view the water, lights, and music show. If you ever get a chance to go to Pittsburgh, make sure to get to Station Square, it’s an awesome place. They’ve done so many improvements to it since I had been there a few years ago.
This was my favorite image from the trip, I love how the photograph shows the motion of the water, the lights add a romantic value, and the kids give perspective. I’ve photographed the water show before, but this is my favorite image so far of that place.
After we spent some time watching the water and I danced a bit to the music, we headed to the bridge above, a lookout to see the beautiful city of Pittsburgh. We made it just in time for fireworks!! I had no idea, we just got really lucky that at that moment, we were there.
Pittsburgh has gone through significant changes in the last 1o years. While driving around, I noticed so many new buildings, and it’s truly a city that has made an amazing transformation.
We then headed back to Mt. Lebanon, to meet up with David, Tonya’s husband, and crash for the night… tired.
For Tuesday, we decided to check out the EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta, which I seemed to always miss when I lived in Pittsburgh.
What a great time, so much to do! I was able to catch the “Wheel Mill” in action and photographed some bike stuntmen as they jumped off into the air. Very cool.
We then walked around downtown for a bit, checking out the city, as I walked through memory lane, visiting my old Ritz Camera store, which is now an ice cream shop.
I stopped by my other college, Point Park University. I attended the school from 2003-05, getting my BA. The college, which transformed into a university while I was there, has had some major work done has practically bought up every building on Boulevard of the Allies.
One of my favorite places to photograph is PPG Place. I love the amazing architecture of the building.
As we made our way back to the stadium, it was time for Bruno Mars.
The concert was awesome, despite or less-than-perfect seats. It didn’t matter, I still stood to dance and sing along with all of his songs.
After the concert, we headed back again to chat with Tonya and David. Such a great evening.
Wednesday was our last day, and I had planned to meet up with a photographer to discuss the possibility of working in his gallery. But unfortunately, he was busy shooting an assignment for the New York Times, and wasn’t able to meet me.
That’s alright, Melody and I headed down to the Strip District then out to the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium. We had a great time!
It’s exactly what I needed right now, to get away for a bit, then refocus. Shooting personal work, such as this, really helps me get creative, and push myself to make better images. It didn’t hurt that my “home” is one of the most beautiful cities in the world 😉
One day I will return again, to this place, I call it home, you call it Pittsburgh…
Go to my website for more photos from the trip 😉