The City Panorama Project: ‘Traffic’

UPDATE: Looks like “Traffic” did make the cut after all, which I’m pretty happy about. Funny enough, when I submitted it, I had named it “Walkway” and only later did I decide “Traffic” was a more clever title for it. Still waiting to hear where KC Metro ends up installing it and the others…. But read the original post:


‘Traffic’ is an image that didn’t make the cut during the King County Metro curation process for the City Panorama Project. I held special affinity for it (view it larger here), because it was the first image I completed, at a time when I was searching a bit for subjects and topics that would be compelling and fit the 4:1 format ratio.

I had been driving to work super-early one autumn morning, waiting in traffic on Western Avenue to reach the Alaskan Way Viaduct on-ramp. The low-angled sun filtered through a pedestrian overpass, and I saw one person crossing, on their own short commute from a parking garage to the Art Institute of Seattle. The walkway was long and immediately I knew it would fit the panoramic format almost perfectly. I vowed to wake up early the next day and shoot that overpass!

By a stroke of luck, Seattle was briefly between storms, and the weather was nearly identical the next day. The sun was still streaming through the grungy plexiglass windowing. I parked on Western, pulled out my tripod and zoom lens, ignored the fuzzy stares of commuters, and started shooting away. I knew right away I wanted many overlapping pedestrians in my final image, as well as all three traffic signals (red, yellow, green) to be “on”, in order to tweak the viewer’s sense of reality. With only one or two people crossing the walkway at once, Photoshop was going to be my friend.

I’m pretty proud of my final image, even if it didn’t make King County Metro’s cut. Most people viewing it have no idea that there weren’t truly that many pedestrians on the walkway, so until they become aware of the traffic lights being “on”, they don’t quite know what’s “off” about the image. I like the color of the sunlight, and the trees framing the walkway, and the one or two pedestrians looking back at my camera. I think it would have made for an interesting bus shelter backdrop.

UPDATE II: It’s been installed in downtown Seattle!

Map to find ‘Traffic’

Find it in downtown Seattle!

Posted in Announcements and Creative Work and Street / Seattle.