Ask anyone whose main mode of transportation is two wheels, and he or she will tell you that when traveling by car, you miss so much. Northstar Cycle Courier co-owner Patrick Sweeney knows this to be true and makes a point of chronicling his world one point-and-click at a time.
"My work as a bike messenger allows me the opportunity to see the city from new and different angles every day," Sweeney said. "And I always try to carry my camera."
Sweeney has always expressed himself artistically, but it wasn't until recently that he began looking at his photos as more than family scrapbook fodder. He sorted through about 7,000 photos and culled 14 for an exhibit at Thomas Hammer Coffee that runs through the end October.
Though he often snaps pictures outside, the 14 photos in Sweeney's exhibit seem less about the external world and more about items that surround him.
"I guess [being a bike messenger] inspires me more than actually contributes to the work," he said.
What makes the photos especially interesting is not only what is in the frame, but also what is right outside of it. The photos in Sweeney's exhibit feature bright shots of color, sometimes focused in so tight on an item that viewers must step back and add the missing elements themselves.
In one, a close-up of a small blue-green car on a floor offers slightly out-of-focus, intriguing glimpses of the room surrounding it. A photo of a fallen traffic cone--that Sweeney took while in Hollywood and the only non-Boise photo in the bunch--hints at construction or maybe an accident. In another, the camera is zoomed in on a white bib emblazoned with a happy little bright red tricycle. The baby wearing it is clearly there, but not visible; the viewer can add whatever sweet little face is in his or her mind.
Because this is Sweeney's first exhibit, he featured photos that he thought were visually pleasing.
"It's a strange thing to pick things you think an audience will appreciate," Sweeney said.
But they are more than pretty pictures. The images are interesting and engaging, and the subject matter is broad enough to have wide appeal. And they're for sale. If you buy one, Sweeney would probably be more than happy to deliver it. Just give him a little time. He'll probably have to stop and take a few pictures along the way.
Through October, Thomas Hammer Coffee, 298 N. Eighth St., 208-433-8004, hammercoffee.com.