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How I Learned to Stop Chasing Landmarks and Love Photographing My Hometown


I took up photography before the birth of my son in 2005 and moved to Marblehead, Massachusetts from Washington, D.C. in 2008. In D.C., I had no limits on famous landmarks to photograph. When I moved to this town of 4.4 square miles, I wasn’t sure how to continue my photography.

In 2009, I participated in a Scott Kelby photowalk (remember those?) and met a guy from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, who started TheDailyPortsmouth to photograph and share his town. Not wanting the pressure of a daily assignment, and with a day off on Wednesdays, I decided to start Wednesdays in Marblehead in 2010 (yes, it was a bit of a riff on Tuesdays with Morrie…).

It was slow going at first. I would post to my WordPress site once a week and, that was that. It went into the ether and, unlike now, the growth was very slow. By forcing myself to only shoot inside the town, I also forced myself to learn more about the town including all the cool public ways, architecture, etc. I started posting more and setting up day-of-the-week themes like ‘black and white‘, ‘long exposure‘. One year (and before drones), I biked around town and put notes under doors of houses with rooftop access/widow walks and started a ‘from the rooftops‘ series.

Hooper to the Harbor
Fourth of July
Fort Sewall

The experience has been incredible, to say the least. I print and sell several hundred calendars each year. I also self-published a hardcover coffee table book with a Kickstarter campaign and used a good offset printer in Asia to produce a book I could be proud of. That book is nearly sold out of its second printing (a total of 3,000 books sold).

A Walk in the Fog
Glovers Regiment

When we travel, I still enjoy shooting new locations but those shots receive FAR less interest when posted to my social feeds than the local ones. I’ve learned that people LOVE their hometowns and, especially, seeing it from a different perspective. I lucked out with a seaside town where I can shoot landscapes, seascapes, historical architecture, etc, but I firmly believe that every town/area deserves a dedicated photographer to share what is unique and special about it.

Moon over Marblehead
First Light on Old Town House

Hopefully someone out there finds this helpful. If you already do this, please share a link with your project/town as a comment.

About the author: Eyal Oren is a photography enthusiast who moved to Marblehead with his wife and two children in 2008 to work as an Allergist at the Asthma and Allergy Affiliates. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Oren sees adults and children with allergies, asthma, and immunologic conditions on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. With a day off on Wednesday, he decided to combine his passion for landscape photography with his beautiful new hometown and thus, Wednesdays in Marblehead was born in August 2010. You can also follow along with his work on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.