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Bus Stop 2370 – 10 Mercer Street – Lower Queen Anne – Seattle, WA

The details that define how cities look, their visual vocabulary, range over a number different items. A few examples: the land itself, its architecture, the commercial expression, the infrastructure, and of course its people. Over the years I have come to think of these details much like you would think about the flora that grows in a given region. Often on the surface they look quite familiar to those from other areas but upon closer examination the variation in the details soon becomes apparent.

Seattle is bounded by Puget Sound, and on a finer level Elliot Bay, with the Olympic Mountains to the west, to the east we find Lake Washington and the Cascade Mountains and to the south is one of the grand icons of the Pacific Northwest, Mount Rainier.

Architecturally, our touchstones, to name but a very, very, few are the Space Needle, Smith Tower, Safco Field, The Rainier Building, The Paramount Theater, Westlake Center, the University of Washington, the Waterfront, and the Pike Place Market.

The above are more of the big trees or the showy flowers of the cityscape. A few of those common indigenous plants around these parts are the wooden telephone poles, the parking meters (these are noxious weeds in my opinion), and the bus stops.

Within a few blocks of where I live there are a dozen bus stops, most of which have these green shelters. When I first arrived here they caught my attention and then quickly faded away.

Only when I started photographing the neighborhood did I really began to pay attention them. At first I did everything I could to exclude these items out ignorance. Fortunately, I figured out rather quickly that was a huge mistake and from that point on I have come to embrace the messy wires, poles, meters, and bus stops.

These bus stops are one of those great places in a city where we get wedged together out of necessity. Sometimes those moments lead to wonderful conversations and at other times they leave you in uncomfortable places. I have seen common commuters, elderly women that still take the greatest care to dress beautifully when running errands, heard the voices of new immigrants to America, those in motorized wheelchairs, children in strollers with mothers, homeless men wrapped in insanity and moving blankets, and even a dead body.

In these details, these common indigenous plants, is where I find the enduring things I love about this city.

Copyright 2012 By Katherine Johnson – All Rights Reserved.