The Streets Of Pittsburgh

street performer, musician
A Familiar Face

The Streets Of Pittsburgh was inspired by the awesome work of Brandon Stanton (Humans Of New York). The Streets Of Pittsburgh is an ongoing series here on, I’ll be taking you right into the heart of the city to meet some of her most interesting characters.

Like any city, Pittsburgh has its share of familiar faces performing various acts to raise a few bucks on crowded streets.  The guy in this photograph is the quintessential Pittsburgh character, I’ve seen him at just about every sporting event (usually on the Roberto Clemente Bridge) playing his trumpet and joking around with sports fans.  He used to play only one song, the main song from Pee-wee Herman’s Big Adventure but has either taken lessons or taught himself a number of other more advanced tunes.

What struck me as interesting was the light and location.  Normally he is playing in crowded areas and engaging with the people who pass by but this night he was in a quiet, almost sad location.  I was walking through the cultural district when I first heard the familiar sound of live music and knew instantly who it was…

As I followed the sound fewer and fewer people could be found walking around.  It was a Friday night and there was a rooftop concert going on down the street so there were certainly more bustling areas.  I found him sitting in a doorway playing a song that echoed the scene, something slow and sad.  I said hello and asked him how he was before taking this photograph, he was very pleasant but you could hear in his voice that he wasn’t feeling especially jovial this evening.  I like this shot because the lighting, location, and body language all tell the story of how he felt that night.

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