Tag Archives: Freedom Trail

Tick. Tock.

I grew up in Boston, and I’ve spent plenty of time walking through Downtown Crossing and the surrounding areas of the Freedom Trail. The Old South Meeting House was always something of an afterthought — just a building you’d happen to pass on the way from the Common to Faneuil Hall.

Monday, I was assigned to easily one of the coolest assignments I’ve had in a long time. A clocksmith by the name of David Hochstrasser was up in the steeple, restoring the clock to make sure everything was on time. It’s a painstaking process, I can imagine, and with all the gears involved, quite an impressive feat, and very cool for a history geek like me. Here’s some photos of him in action, plus a link to the Boston Herald’s story:

12.21.2009 — BOSTON — Clocksmith David Hochstrasser checks the time after restoring the steeple clock of the Old South Meeting House on Dec. 21, 2009. The restoration of clock, built in 1766 by Gawen Brown, involved no modifications save for a faceplate to commemorate the date of the project.


12.21.2009 — BOSTON — Clocksmith David Hochstrasser puts the final touches on his restoration of the clock in the steeple of the Old South Meeting House on Dec. 21, 2009. The restoration of clock, built in 1766 by Gawen Brown, involved no modifications save for a faceplate to commemorate the date of the project.


12.21.2009 — Clocksmith David Hochstrasser restored the steeple clock in the Old South Meeting House on Dec. 21, 2009. The restoration of clock, built in 1766 by Gawen Brown, who left his signature on this gear, involved no modifications save for a faceplate to commemorate the date of the project.

12.21.2009 — BOSTON — Clocksmith David Hochstrasser restored the steeple clock in the Old South Meeting House on Dec. 21, 2009. The restoration of clock, built in 1766 by Gawen Brown, involved no modifications save for a faceplate to commemorate the date of the project.

The Freedom Trail

So here’s the complete take on what I submitted for the 2009 AAJA Convention Dith Pran Photo Shootout, which featured the theme “The Freedom Trail.” Growing up in Boston, I never experienced the Freedom Trail from the point of view as a tourist. I always just saw it as something that tourists would flock to in the summer, and so that’s kind of the approach I took in shooting it for the contest — to shoot it from the outside in, looking at the marginal people around the Trail.

So here we go:

8/13/2009 — BOSTON — Timmy Gammon, 20, left, Gabby, 20, and Steve, 20, play music in Boston Common along the Freedom Trail for money on Aug. 13, 2009.

8/13/2009 — BOSTON — Timmy Gammon, 20, left, Gabby, 20, and Steve, 20, play music in Boston Common along the Freedom Trail for money on Aug. 13, 2009.

8/13/2009 — BOSTON — Steve Chaplisk, who is homeless, feeds dozens of birds outside the State House at the head of the Freedom Trail while commuters head home from their jobs on Aug. 13, 2009.

8/13/2009 — BOSTON — Steve Chaplisk, who is homeless, feeds dozens of birds outside the State House at the head of the Freedom Trail while commuters head home from their jobs on Aug. 13, 2009.

8/13/2009 — BOSTON — Street vendor, Juan, gets some reading time next to his stand along the Freedom Trail on Washington Street on Aug. 13, 2009. With cloudy skies, business was slow, he said.

8/13/2009 — BOSTON — Street vendor, Juan, gets some reading time next to his stand along the Freedom Trail on Washington Street on Aug. 13, 2009. With cloudy skies, business was slow, he said.

8/13/2009 — BOSTON — A homeless woman watches tourists pass by along the Freedom Trail on Congress Street near Faneuil Hall on Aug. 13, 2009.

8/13/2009 — BOSTON — A homeless woman watches tourists pass by along the Freedom Trail on Congress Street near Faneuil Hall on Aug. 13, 2009.

And of course, the award winner:

8/13/2009 — BOSTON — College student Sam Hines, 21, gives out "Free Hugs" at the corner outside the Park Street T station for the simple reason that, 'It makes people happy!' on Aug. 13, 2009. It was Hines' first day at the spot at the head of the Freedom Trail this summer, though she said she spent a number of days out there last summer.

8/13/2009 — BOSTON — College student Sam Hines, 21, gives out 'Free Hugs' at the corner outside the Park Street T station for the simple reason that, 'It makes people happy!' on Aug. 13, 2009. It was Hines' first day at the spot at the head of the Freedom Trail this summer, though she said she spent a number of days out there last summer.

Free Hugs

So the AAJA Convention is in Boston this weekend. Part of the festivities included the 10th Annual Dith Pran Photo Shootout, hosted by AAJA Photo.

Here was one of my five entries, based on the theme “Freedom Trail.”

8/13/2009 — BOSTON — College student Sam Hines, 21, gives out "Free Hugs" at the corner outside the Park Street T station for the simple reason that, "It makes people happy!" on Aug. 13, 2009. It was Hines' first day at the spot at the head of the Freedom Trail this summer, though she said she spent a number of days out there last summer.

8.13.2009 — BOSTON — College student Sam Hines, 21, gives out 'Free Hugs' at the corner outside the Park Street T station for the simple reason that, 'It makes people happy!' on Aug. 13, 2009. It was Hines' first day at the spot at the head of the Freedom Trail this summer, though she said she spent a number of days out there last summer.

My idea was to photograph the marginal people along the Trail, basically all the people who ask for your money. As a local, I’ve always just known the Freedom Trail as one big money grab for tourists. I still haven’t ever walked the whole thing in its entirety.

Anyway, believe it or not, I actually won the shootout with this photo — the one photo that didn’t have a person asking for money! Thanks, Sam.

Good karma all the way around.