July 31, 2006

Daily Photos

When I want to see what Austin, Texas looks like, I can step outside my door -- or if it's too hot to do that, I can simply click to Austin Daily Photo, a site run by Alice of Like a Tea-Tray in the Sky. Alice is an Englishwoman who somehow found herself here, and like so many of us transplants, she loves it. Her photos contain a lot of her obsession -- overhead wires -- and lots of sunlight glaring off of buildings and cars. It's hard to show visually what's so wonderfully special about Austin, since it's not a particularly pretty town. But there's a wacky, eclectic, welcoming spirit here that's not found in many other places. You can feel it even just driving along. Many times I drive down South Congress Avenue or even the Mo-Pac Expressway and think, "God, I'm lucky to live here."

A very nice thing about having discovered Austin Daily Photo is that I've discovered all the world's Daily Photo sites at once, on a sidebar. You can click city after city from Accra, Ghana to Zaltbommel, Netherlands and see what's going on. London, Los Angeles, Barcelona, Chicago, Paris, Tokyo, Venice, Blomfontein, Brasov, Doha, Seguin...

And what's the most thrilling, unpredictable, exotic, psychotic of the cities on the city blog list? You guessed it. Nowhere else comes close. Just looking at New York Daily Photo and Joe's NYC I can hear it, smell it, touch it, be seized by it, the fever, the ferocity, the desperate wishing and prowling, the mingling and mangling, the hallucinatory grime and gleam. Good God what a place. Every few steps in that city you could take a photo and capture a phenomenon you wouldn't find anywhere else. What it must have been like to grow up there, to live there for a quarter-century or so. What luck.

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