Support us with Kachingle!
October 18, 2012 | 12:00 a.m. CST
Hands-free helmet, fisheye, iPhone, disposable — all types of cameras and the photographers behind them were welcomed at Saturday’s Worldwide Photo Walk.
“It’s about finding an image or scene that really stands out to you, and anyone can find that, no matter how much experience you have,” says Gene Royer, leader of the walk.
The air was brisk, and the sky was cloudy. Everyone prepared for rain, though none fell. After a brief group shot, the photographers mingled for a few moments and set out on their morning mission to snap the day’s best photograph.
Some, like Hao Yuan, an international student at MU, loitered at the walk’s starting point. He was drawn to the fall foliage. He even organized fallen leaves into pretty patterns on the sidewalk.
Matthew Wood, a self-described semi-professional photographer, shot a fellow photographer’s reflection as he gazed into the set of mirror-like windows of a nearby building.
“It’s the photographer that counts, not the camera,” Wood says. “The camera just gives more options.”
Many scurried ahead only to back-track to make sure nothing astounding had escaped their notice. It’s Sam Mead’s fourth year on the photo walk, and he says it forces him to focus on what’s in front of him. “It gets you thinking differently about stuff you walk by every day,” Mead says. “But it’s good for me; it keeps me looking past what I usually see.”
Keun Kyeong Kim and his wife also participated in the event. She arranged a bouquet of leaves and flowers while he shot photos. Kim and his wife moved from South Korea two months ago and thought the walk would be a nice chance to get to know the area better.
Between dodging SEC fans and stepping over the occasional stray beer can leftover from the night before, the photographers leisurely made their way through Columbia. There was no rush and no sense of competitiveness. Sometimes it appeared meditative.
On Broadway, a stray caterpillar was a highlight of the walk. Some photographers gently positioned the caterpillar before allowing the furry creature to scuttle to the next carefully coordinated flower arrangement. A few let the critter loll or pose as it pleased, carefully unobtrusive and respectful.
There was never a rhythm or structure of the walk. Each photographer simply did as he or she pleased.
As the walkers slowly made their way to the finish, some stayed for lunch at Flat Branch Pub and Brewery. Over pizza and burgers, amateurs and professionals pored over their morning work and exchanged stories and looks of satisfaction.
Yes, there would be a winner selected among the group, but that didn’t matter, not really. It was the sense of camaraderie that was to be remembered and the photos to keep as souvenirs.