“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
Did you see that Lancaster made The New York Times this past week? The article featured some of my favorites: Lancaster Central Market, Prince Street Cafe, Thistle Finch Distillery, and PhotOle Photography. Entitled, “Amish Country Embraces Farm-to-Table,” the author praised some of our new businesses and art studios, joking that Lancaster had become more instagrammable than ever as a result. Why yes, we sure have! Did you know that the hashtag #Lancastergram currently has almost 17,000 entries?
That is why I was particularly thrilled that The Times decided to highlight Ole Hongvanthong and his photography studio and store on West King Street. Like other Lancaster photographers, I initially discovered Ole through Instagram @photole_photography and was immediately intrigued by both his work and the restored cameras that he was selling. When I reached out to Ole, he was already familiar with my work on Instagram @urbansocialblend (which made my day) and offered to capture my likeness downtown.
I start with Ole because he is just one member of our very active and growing photography community here in Lancaster. Lancaster has a great support system, both professional and personal, for photographers at all levels of experience and with diverse interests. At a professional level, PCAD offers a degree and continuing education opportunities in photography, Sunshine Art + Design has a darkroom available for its members, and The Perfect Image has photography equipment available to purchase or to rent. At a personal level, one can sign-up for photo walks at the Lancaster County Photography Meetup page or simply reach out to the many Lancaster photographers that you will see working offline or online. I have watched Nikki Weems in action at Lancaster Transplant events, seen Seth Dochter from the Amish Road Show capture the Ephrata landscape, and literally posed for Ole in Steinman Park. I have found that Lancaster’s photographers are more than willing to share their craft with you and help you in any way that they can.
You will also discover that Lancaster’s photography community is very active on Instagram and quite enthusiastic about showcasing the faces, places, and spaces that make our community so special to others. This is one of the many reasons that Discover Lancaster decided to launch the #Lancastergram photography contest last year and to publicly recognize those efforts.
And we are at it once again… from June 21 to August 9, Discover Lancaster, in partnership with consultant Paul Anater, will be sponsoring the second annual #Lancastergram contest! I am thrilled to be a part of the Locals Love Lancaster team and honored to be one of the judges for this year’s contest. I invite, encourage and challenge you to respond to our call for photographs. We are looking for local and visiting photographers, amateur and professional photographers, portrait and landscape photographers, and everyone in between, to participate this summer and to start tagging their Lancaster photos with the #Lancastergram hashtag. Be creative! I want to see Lancaster through your eyes and am particularly interested in new perspectives. Participating photographers will automatically be eligible to win amazing Lancaster County prize packages, be featured in a gallery show this fall, and recognized at a public event on September 5, 2015. For official details and to read this year’s press release, please click here.
Click here to see Top Picks from each week of the #Lancastergram contest.