Ghost signs and life on Broadway are part of the photographer’s street life project – InForum
FARGO — Scott Olsen is not shy.
The college English teacher is like an audience. But this summer, Olsen’s audience has been a downtown full of strangers.
Olsen went out of his way to meet them and they became part of his street photography project. From pretty, to private, to thoughtful. Downtown faces.
“That’s what street photographers try to do, is to tell the complexity of an urban area. And it’s not all the tourist brochures, not all the arguments that are painful. Because these things exist in space and at the same time and all of these communities interact with each other every day,” Olsen said.
While there are plenty of pictures in the rain and smiles in the sun, there are also historical discoveries.
“It’s evidence of the old Fargo-Moorhead electric tram system. And I love that there’s evidence of history everywhere you look,” Olsen said, pointing to old tracks in an alley.
Olsen came across another great find under the siding and painting of some buildings. Ghost Signs, as they are called, are signposts of Fargo and this region’s past revealed.
“(I) didn’t know until recently that it was some kind of thing. That they’re called ghost signs and that there’s actually a national, if not international, community that visits these things. And so after learning that he wasn’t just my own fascination, I started looking for them,” Olsen said.
The street photo project reminded Olsen just how diverse downtown can be. A difference of night and day.
“It’s about getting to know not just the issues, but the people who are affected and driven by those issues.