Why Cleveland, Ohio is Perfect for Street Photography

Why Cleveland, Ohio is Perfect for Street Photography

When it comes to street photography, there are heaps of places that come to mind. New York City, Chicago, Paris and many others have been the settings for legendary street photographers such Daniel Arnold, Vivian Meier and Henri Cartier-Bresson.

After all, they are incredible cities with a vibrant collection of characters and structures.

The Midwest is not typically mentioned as a premier location for photography in its many history-rich cities, and, that’s too bad.

Cleveland, Ohio

There are numerous reasons to enjoy Midwestern cities as photographic subjects. Some of my favorite reasons include the architecture; the characters on the street and the grittiness in the neighborhoods.

Recently, a buddy and I made a road-trip plan to travel to Pittsburgh, PA. We decided, in order to maximize our adventure, to stop in Cleveland since it’s a city of substantial size and also because it’s a place we hadn’t explored very much.

I’m here to tell you, and if you didn’t already know, that Cleveland is amazing.

We only dipped a toe in Cleveland because we only had one night to stay there, but I was quickly infatuated with the city.

Cleveland, Ohio

The street life in Cleveland is busy, but not too busy. The architecture there is incredible and beautiful. Cleveland is a city that rewards the observant. There are details and nuggets of beauty that hide and reveal themselves to those who are willing to search and appreciate.

Our lodging for our one-night Cleveland stay was at the Holiday Inn Express. That doesn’t sound too exciting, except, the Holiday Inn Express in Cleveland is situated in the Guardian Building (a.k.a. New England Building) that was built in 1896.

“I love the normalcy of Cleveland. There’s regular people there.”

~Drew Carey

A short walk outside the hotel building was The Arcade, the first indoor mall in the United States. This is one of those places that has to be seen to be fully experienced and appreciated. Once the entrance threshold is crossed, it’s like a time machine back to 1890, when the Arcade was built. The natural light cascading down from the upper skylights is soft, welcoming and perfect for photographs.

The Arcade
Cleveland, Ohio

Roaming the streets of Cleveland feels safe and adventurous. One aspect of downtown Cleveland I really enjoyed was that it wasn’t too noisy or congested.

Looking up, at one point, there was a window washer cleaning the glass of a very tall building. Droplets of water from the window washer’s squeegee could be heard hitting the sidewalk with a loud ker-SPLAT.

Cleveland, Ohio

After a walk around the city center, it was time for my buddy and I to head toward Pittsburgh. It was obvious, though, that we’d only scratched the surface of this beautiful town.

My stay in Cleveland was brief, but I couldn’t recommend it enough as a place to wander about, enjoy the surroundings and take pictures.

2 thoughts on “Why Cleveland, Ohio is Perfect for Street Photography”

    • It seems like Cleveland is one of those cities that slips under everyone’s radar, Steve! I had no idea how wonderful it was until I’d spent an overnight. There was great food, and it was really an interesting city, visually, to photograph!

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