Behind the Strip can be a little smelly, especially if you walk the alleys and see all the cooks on smoke breaks and try to dodge the puddles of milky water and pass Dumpsters spilling over.
Behind the scenes, though, can be fun - aside from the sausage making everyone says no one should see. You see big bins of batter, Asian vegetables being unloaded from boxes and guys hauling sides of beef off trucks. Yum.
When Shelly Tichy picked her course for this year's PhotoWalk, she turned the theme "Behind the Strip" on its ear. Eschewing the tour of buildings and areas not usually open to the public and obviously too smart to wander through stinky alleys, she went back where the river meets the strip of woods. Talk about smelly. That fecund weediness that usually hits its stride by the most humid stretches of summer is already full-blown. You can smell tar in patches - whether from the nearby tracks or the river; it's hard to distinguish.
In a group of photographers who walked and shot together on May 16, she took a panorama of the back of the Terminal Buildings. Every photographer had a different take on what "Behind the Strip" meant.
Look for her photos at the PhotoWalk Competition and Exhibit Thursday from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Guardian Storage Solutions, 2839 Liberty Ave. The event is open to the public, but an RSVP to 412.201.4774 will be appreciated. The suggested donation is $10 to support the work of Neighbors in the Strip.
Neighbors in the Strip sponsors the PhotoWalk and exhibit every year as a way to promote the Strip. It was inspired by a slide show http://www.srirambala.com/soundskides/strip/index.html.
Becky Rodgers, executive director of Neighbors in the Strip, said about 40 people took the Photo Walk this year and between 10-20 will
exhibit. A panel of judges will chose winners in a "single pictures" and "collage" division, and the people in attendance can vote for the people's choice award.
Neighbors in the Strip will announce its own "pink poodle" award for a photo from last year that inspired the non-profit, whose mission is to promote and help the Strip improve. It was named for a photo of a stuffed pink poodle from Photo Walk 2007.
Ms. Tichy, 48, is a dance teacher who took up photography after moving here 16 years ago. She lives in Murraysville but says she loves the energy of the city. "Pittsburgh has layers that you don't see in other places."
"Photography is something I do because it feels right," she said.