Nestled between the highway and Redwood Regional Park is this little village called Montclair, within the city of Oakland. The neighborhood’s gorgeous tree-filled hillsides are appealing to Bay Area residents who want an easy commute and an escape from the city.
At the bottom of the hills, there’s a little historic village, now full of modern chains, but with an old-school independent department store and other traces of a time gone by. Not far down the road is the cutest library I’ve ever seen – it looks like the house of the Seven Dwarfs.
One day, on a walk to the village, a couple of vibrant wall murals caught my eye – they were inside the parking structure. As I walked around it, I saw two more colorful pieces of wall art. I was seeing it everywhere. Electronic cabinets had been painted with a series of flowers. Sidewalk planters had been covered in mosaic tiles.
This amazing street art reminded me that, in fact, this was Oakland. The proximity to the park makes it a wonderfully peaceful environment. But it’s cool to know it’s part of a city. A diverse, dynamic, who-knows-what-will-happen-next city.
I’ve had the good fortune to have lived in and visited a lot of places over the years, and I just adore cities. Life started out for me as a young girl living in the city of Cleveland – and I loved it. I loved the secret nooks and crannies accessible to me as a kid in a city. The cracks in the sidewalk I avoided on my bike were old friends.
I have always felt there is an interesting dynamic between a child and a city-space. So I was grateful to get to work with all these kids to capture that with the colorful backdrops of Montclair. If you’ve never visited, this series might not exactly give you the broad strokes of the impression the neighborhood makes. But I wonder, if you were a kid, if these colors would stand out to you first, too. If you’re familiar with the neighborhood, I hope this offers you a fresh look!
This spring, I’m offering mini family photo session on the Montclair Railroad Trail, a beautiful green space easily accessible from the village. There are just 10 spots available at an incredible rate. If you’d like to book one of these special sessions, the event is happening on Sunday, May 6, 2018. (Click for details!)
Photos shot on my Fuji X-T10. All images © Sarah Sloboda 2018; do not copy or use without written permission.
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