|Message from Joel
Inspiration is a personal thing.
For me, Painted Alley is a metaphor for what I enjoy most about travel photography - the vibrant off-the-beaten-path back alleys of villages or the 'undiscovered' sidestreets of big cities. The alleys are painted with energy and colour, aged by centuries of changing seasons or years of neglect. These alleys are home to the real people and not to the tourists a stone's throw away in their proper hotels.
Painted Alley also represents landscapes painted with the magic light of sunrises and sunsets - hues of gold, red and blue only available for a few minutes twice a day.
Most recently , it is a constant reminder for me that portrait photography should not be limited to our subjects. Better images will always incorporate interesting backgrounds to give the image depth and interest ... even if it is something as simple as grafitti on the walls of a back alley.
Okay, now for the whole story. The true inspiration for this name came from my first real portrait photoshoot. The downtown eastside of Vancouver is Canada's poorest neighbourhood, verging on third world conditions - a short visit will confirm this. Back alleys are painted with trash, broken glass, drug paraphernalia, unconscious bodies, people doing unimaginable damage to their bodies and those profiting from their mis-fortune. I've spent several Sundays bringing the residents sandwiches and hearing their stories. If I'm having a lucky day, they let me take a few photos in hope that I can help change their world or help people understand the situation well enough to prevent more people from joining their plight. The images were raw and real, character abound - much like the area itself. One girl frightened me. She approached me asking for a couple bucks but instead of turning away, which was my first instinct, I gave her a couple bucks and asked to take a few photos. I wasn't expecting much from the images of this seemingly older woman, but when I got home and reviewed the images, I was struck by how beautiful this girl in her mid-twenties was if not for all the signs of somebody who had serious addiction issues. This is where I became addicted to portrait work and working with people to create beautiful and interesting images. Inspiration is a very personal thing.
If you like what I'm doing or have some thoughts on how I can improve, drop me a message!
Create your own visitor map!
create your own visited country map
or check our Venice travel guide