“This arresting mural is on the wall of an empty building at the corner of Rainier and Holden in Rainier Beach. I get to see it every day on my commute home. I believe the blackened eyes are an act of vandalism, or at least, added after the fact. Like the magnificent buildings going up all over Seattle, which create and destroy aesthetic value depending on perspective, the mural is a reminder that beauty can both delight and disturb; and perhaps, that beauty is truly in the “eyes” of the beholder.” (Shane McDonald)
“The Seattle I see is quiet. I feel the hush in the empty sidewalk, the closed signs, the underused niches on my walk home. 7pm or 2am is hard to sense in the early winter dark. Seattle is a daytime city, a lunchtime city, an operating-during-normal-business-hours city.” (Marit Jensen)
“Attached is my favorite parking over-signage pic. I guess I see most parking signs telling us what we can’t do rather than what we can. It’s a subtle form of telling us all that we are always bad, and we have the opportunity to be good by parking during the right times. Whereas the flip side would be telling us proactively when we can park. ‘NO PARKING 6PM to 5AM’ vs. ‘PARKING 5AM to 6PM.’ These both say the same thing, but one is aggressive, the other assertive. Maybe regulatory signage needs to be aggressive because drivers are aggressive. However, maybe with assertive signage and messaging on our roads, we’d see more assertive driving.” (Carl Leighty)
“[This] photo I shot while at Magnuson Park one early morning. Cold as it was, it was worth standing in the cold with cotton candy colors across the sky. Especially during the winter, when gray skies are the norm.” (Ramon Bentley)
“[This] photo reflected the mood among some folks downtown immediately after Election Day. There was this weird energy you could feel everywhere I went, but aside from needing to talk about it, no one dared to make this kind of statement.” (Ramon Bentley)
“[Seattle] is tentatively expressing an adventurous inner spirit architecturally into bold undercut skyscrapers and geodesic domes. It is a city that is stretching, on the edge of wakefulness and something new. It is a city that I hope continues to enliven across the board.” (Marit Jensen)
“[This pic] just makes me laugh every time. We see cranes and think of them as these work horse instruments that are tools to erect our new skyline, yet they perform very mundane functions as well. And yes, those are porta potties.” (Carl Leighty)
“[This] photo was a result of seeing just how old some of these buildings are downtown. Amidst all of the development happening, these buildings stand out for the right reasons.
“I snapped the pavement art on Aurora & 105th. Aurora isn’t the first place you think of when it comes to public art, but it was great to witness the people who stopped as they passed it by to admire it. I think they, too, wanted to take a moment to let that sort of optimism in as they go further along Aurora.” (Ramon Bentley)
You look around your city all the time. But how often do you really stop and see it?
We asked you to take a closer look at Seattle last week and share your reflections on what caught your eye and why. We were inspired by Seattle land-use attorney and urbanist Charles Wolfe, who argues that anyone — not just public officials or planning wonks — can better understand their city by taking note of how it looks and feels to them. It’s an approach Charles describes as keeping an “urban diary.”
Several of you sent us some beautiful entries. Click on the photos above to get a closer look.
“The city can be too big to bite all at once, so it helps to see the city in these focused images,” wrote reader Ramon Bentley, who told us he started documenting parts of the city while watching a Seahawks game on a Sunday night on NBC.
“Nearly every visual reference to the city had to do with the Space Needle and Pike Place Market,” Ramon wrote. “It was then I decided to take a closer to my new adopted home.”
Here’s some of what Ramon and others among you have seen, so it can inspire us all to keep on looking.