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Beacon Hill

“You don’t look for pictures. Your pictures are looking for you.” This wisdom, shared by photographer Harold Feinstein when I first moved to Boston 25 years ago, continues to resonate today. The pictures that found me have always been more about color, texture, line, and shape than any attempt at literal representations. Pulling apart, zooming in, and skewing frames reveal Cubist collages of skyscrapers, the bejeweled patina of corroded and decaying transit stairways, the accidental play of light in Beacon Hill’s secret corners. Boston is a city built from a palette of warm browns, now punctuated by béton brut and reflective surfaces that deepen and expand the effect. The assemblages are simple, balanced, and soothing.

By zeroing in on the details — that is, after all, where some say we find God or perhaps the devil — banal and esoteric elements take on the ability to evoke Modernist masters. Capturing textured exteriors as they compete against a blue sky background offers an American folk art sampler. Discoveries are everywhere. There is no shortage, there are no repeats. Meeting the city in this way becomes an intimate game, even trystlike, as if showing its secrets to anyone willing to simply stop, and look.