‘Through The Eyes Of’ is an impressionistic photo series that features locations around the globe as seen through the eyes of a local creator. In today’s photo essay, Boston-based photographer Neal Kumar takes us on a personal and honest glimpse into the daily scenes around his neighborhood in Boston. Neal uses photography not only to document the moments that pass him by, but to quietly give us a personal glimpse into how he experiences this city and its unique character and charm.
A Saturday at Home
I live in the South End neighborhood of Boston, which is known for Victorian style brownstone homes and many parks. It is actually the largest intact Victorian row house district in the country. Any given Saturday morning I step outside my walkup brownstone and am greeted with a large park right out front, with locals having picnics, walking dogs, or playing with their kids. Streets with old historic brownstone homes are seemingly endless, cafes are busy, and people are having brunch at one of many restaurants tucked away. Each time I can choose a different path to generally meander in the direction I need to go. No high-rises are in the immediate vicinity, but rather can be seen in the skyline peeking above the trees in the distance. The brownstone row homes each have their own unique character, with different colored front doors, brick architecture, rooftops, and window designs. Essentially no two homes look the same. As you walk through this district there are several small parks on many corners, some with benches, flowerbeds, or playgrounds. I could walk around this neighborhood for hours on a quiet Saturday morning enjoying the soft light peeking through the trees and lighting up the classic facades. This is one of my favorite times of the day to shoot as the light isn’t too harsh and details don’t get washed out.
From here I often grab coffee from one of many local coffee shops tucked away in these residential streets. One of my favorites, Greystone, is a newer family-owned neighborhood spot surrounded by tall trees and brownstones.
Continuing to walk north, in just a few steps I’m now in another historic district, Back Bay, where you can feel an increase in the bustle by Newbury Street with endless shopping and tiny restaurants with al fresco dining. These brownstones are often taller than in the South End, and feature majestic architecture that are seemingly never-ending along several streets parallel to the Charles River. As you get closer to the river it becomes quiet and peaceful again, with people running or walking along the water. In the spring, Back Bay really comes alive with blooming magnolia trees lining streets with pink and white tones.
One thing I love about Boston is how dense and compact the city is. This makes it easy to walk for hours and explore several different areas in the same day. Another favorite neighborhood of mine is Beacon Hill, just a short walk to the east of Back Bay. As you enter the streets become noticeably narrower and hillier. Some of the oldest homes in the city are located here, and because of the elevation there are many unique perspectives looking down a hill lined with classic architecture and old streets. In the fall the majestic trees add plenty of color from changing leaves, and in the winter the snow blankets the streets. With so many hills, I often find better perspectives here to capture color sunsets at the end of the day.