An Art of Observation

“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”
– Elliott Erwitt

I started a family newspaper when I was about eight or nine. I went on to become a journalist for a small town newspaper where I covered everything from city government to prize-winning fair tomatoes. Later, I worked as a freelance writer. I was also a photographer for my U.S. Forest Service fire crew during college summers. Although I’ve only recently begun to focus more intensely on the art of street photography, the “art of observation” has been a constant thread all along. In fact, my parents used to call me “radar ears” because I was constantly secretly listening in on adult conversations.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The slide show above is from a recent weekend trip from Portland, Oregon to Seattle, WA USA via Amtrak train. I especially enjoyed walking through Chinatown where there are few tourists. While there, I also discovered the beautiful Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience which included a tour by a nephew of Wing Luke of an preserved 1910 shop next door that sold imported goods and tickets to the Blue Funnel Line steamship and an historic hotel that once housed Asian immigrants and workers.

A visit and tour are highly recommended. More info here:

“Son of a laundryman and grocer and an immigrant from China, Wing Luke went on to become one of nine high school students to consult for a White House conference on youth issues, earn a Bronze Star Medal for his Army service during WWII, receive a law degree from the University of Washington, and be appointed Assistant Attorney General for Washington State.

Wing Luke, 1962.


In 1962, Wing Luke made history, elected as the first person of color on the Seattle City Council and the first Asian American elected to public office in the Pacific Northwest. His unique combination of politics, compassion and advocacy of diverse communities made him a powerful force for equal housing, urban revival and historic preservation of Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square and the Seattle Waterfront. Wing was a trailblazer of his time.

In 1965, his promising career was tragically cut short when a small plane he was riding crashed in the Cascade Mountains. He died at the age of forty. Despite the short tenure of his career, Wing inspired many. In his memory, the community created the Wing Luke Memorial Foundation and eventually built a pan-Asian museum based on his vision. The first version of the Museum opened its doors on May 17, 1967 in a humble storefront at 414 8th Ave South in the Chinatown-International District. Several decades later, the Museum continues to be an important place where the Asian Pacific American community looks to for engagement, inspiration and leadership – a legacy that Wing Luke left to Seattle.”


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.