Photo walk showcases Joplin


Terri-Lynn Frasher/The Chart

Kaylee and Damon Patterson walking in the rain at the national photo walk held in Joplin, on Saturday October 6, 2013.

Liz Spencer, Photo Editor

Gasping awake to a frigid bedroom, I heard my alarm relentlessly beeping. I opened my eyes to the first truly cold morning of the season, dreary with drizzling rain.

“Why did I have to officially register for a photo walk?” I grumbled to myself as I turned on my heater.

I had committed, in writing, to be at an event meant to inspire and challenge me as a photographer. I did not realize I was signing up to be this challenged.

Checking my email, I read a message from the Joplin Photo Walk organizer, Steve Russell: “Remember, photography does not stop during the winter, this is a good test.”

So I layered up and grabbed some hot coffee.

Participation was down for this year’s walk on Oct. 5, according to Russell.

Afterward he wrote, “A handful of photographers managed to brave the changing elements and provided the good spirits needed to get everyone in the photo-taking mood.”

Walking the streets of downtown Joplin on a dreary morning, I was drawn to look inside the shop windows that I never notice when I drive by with my to-do list screaming at me. I saw stories in reflections in the windows. The overcast sky created ideal diffused light better than any studio’s soft box could dream of being. Rich color was vivid against cold grays. I walked the alleyways entranced by the doors begging me to open them. Cobwebs lured me into soft shadows. The raw beauty of downtown Joplin entranced me that morning.

Fellow Chart photographer Terri-Lynn Frasher also participated in the photo walk. She said, “The experience definitely challenged me to be a better photographer by forcing me to step out of my comfort zone and to take pictures I would not normally take.”

Days later, when my body warmth returned and I looked through my images, I realized the photo walk had sparked my creative energy. There is something powerful about braving the elements to get a photograph. Russell was right: It was a good test.