170510 Falls People - matthew piers robertson • photography writing creative toronto

What would the Niagara Falls experience be without people?

People aren't my natural subject, but it's hard to be in a tourist town without them. Part of the appeal of starting this four-seasons project is being able to experience it so very differently when the water and town stay mostly the same. In April there's just so much more space than there will be in July when the crowds are in full effect.

It'll be an epic clash of selfie sticks.

Last time mentioning the "Behind The Falls" tour, I promise, but this photo sums up the experience better than most of the ones that I took. That our friend is looking the 'wrong' way is almost the point – it's amazing in every direction. I probably won't go back down when I'm in town in the summer, but I'll probably be tempted.

Okay, this is just a basic snapshot photo, but it gets better if you give it a minute.

(I've been told that photos should pose questions instead of providing answers. I'm not sure I agree, but just this once I'll respect that idea.)

Phones-as-cameras probably outnumbered dedicated cameras 10:1, and even the people who carried a dedicated camera also had a phone as well. I should know; I was one of them. And why not use phones? They're indispensable, frequently good enough, and pretty much everyone already owns one. 

While I like cameras for their own sake, and seeing their market decline makes me wistful, photography as an activity has never been stronger and that's fantastic. Everyone relates to their surroundings, their memories, and their people through images. It's changing the world.

But I admit that I'm biased – after all, I teach people to take better pictures, including a simple workshop for people who want better-looking photos but don't don't want to pursue photography as a hobby or interest in its own right. If you've read this far then my workshops probably aren't for you, but check them out if you haven't already – maybe you know someone who would be interested.


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