For Nick Barlow (@bos_fog), a born-and-raised Bostonian working in digital media, the photography bug didn’t bite until he left home. During a five-year stint in San Francisco, Barlow, 35, fought off homesickness by looking at photos of Boston online, promising himself that when he returned he’d take some of those photos himself. And he’s made good on that vow ever since.
Q. What is it about Boston that inspires you as a photographer?
A. I mean, it’s my home. I just have a natural longing for the streets and the moods, the seasons. It’s something I really couldn’t get when I was living in California. There’s a sentimentality and romance to it and a cuteness to the city. It’s really a very precious city — I don’t use those terms usually, but it’s true. People who I’ve introduced the city to from other places, they feel the same way.
Q. With so many people taking photos around Boston, how do you ensure that your photos stand out and reflect a distinct viewpoint?
A. I have certain internal principles and expectations of myself. I don’t really consider myself a postcard photographer — I’m not looking to get shots of the skyline or various landmarks. If I can stick them in all the better, but I’m really just a street photographer. I kind of match what I would like to see and go out searching for it in the street. As a street photographer you really have to hunt around and almost, like, stalk your prey once you find it to get the right shot. That’s what I do, and that’s the challenge that I love, just finding something and seeing the end result.
Q. Are there any locations in Boston you haven’t photographed yet but would like to?
A. I’m pretty familiar with the areas. I don’t really have a wish list at this point. I think there are some spots that are more difficult. I would like to get some more shots around Piers Park in East Boston and some more of the skyline, but they can’t be just regular skyline shots. They really have to match what I expect from myself. No matter where it is, it has to have the right feel.
Q. Do you have a favorite photo on your Instagram?
A. One that immediately comes to mind is a shot of downtown Boston. It’s in the winter and there’s some snow on the ground. It’s a mixture of composition and coloring that I like about it. There’s a little girl in the background with a perplexed look. In the foreground there’s a seedier-looking man smoking a cigarette; he has a very cool pose. Then there’s someone in the middle between the two; he has a blue coat. To the right there’s a flower stand; it helps sort of balance out those three people. It’s just a nice winter shot I think, with color and composition.Interview was edited and condensed. Terence Cawley can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @terence_cawley