Returning to the scene of the crime – Hot Dog on a Stick


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As a street and social documentary photographer, I often wonder how the images will look through eyes of future generations, and what will change quickly and what will not. Creating a series of photography over a long period of time of the same place can help document those changes. It also challenges me to look for different views and different situations.

I am now a little over 10 years into my journey as a serious student of photography. Many of my early images are of landscapes and flowers, but there are a few stand outs from some of my more frequented spots such as Santa Monica beach and the original Hot Dog on a Stick location near the pier and muscle beach – which also serves the best lemonade ever!

My husband has somewhat of an obsession with their lemonade. When we head down to the pier, I know that a large lemonade is the price for a couple hours of his patience as I shoot. Over the years it hasn’t changed much. Each summer a new set of high-school and college students man the fryer and make large vats of fresh lemonade, and it still frequented by a wide variety of patrons – both locals and visitors.

This weekend I spent time looking through all my photographs of this iconic location. It is a very small little universe occupying no more than a few hundred square feet. I don’t think I’ve yet done it justice. In looking back at my images there is not enough variety of situations, lighting, and scenes. I now have some new goals to start to examine not just the workers but also its patrons. Can I find my subject in people eating their hotdogs and enjoying their lemonade. How to I visually link them them to the Santa Monica beach vibe and the stand itself? And what does the back look like?


This week I am dedicating my Instagram (Nancy_Lehrer)  and Facebook (nancy.lehrer or Nancy Lehrer Photography) posts to photographs from the original Hot Dog on a Stick on Santa Monica Beach.

A Street Photography Manifesto Cover JPGLife Happens in COLOR –
A Street Photography Manifesto is available from my Blurb bookstore.

Buy it here

I believe in the use of photography to tell candid stories that document the human condition in order to bring people together with understanding and acceptance.

These are the principles that guide my photography:

  • Create compelling stories: Say something, ask questions.
  • Life happens in COLOR: Color carries emotional content.
  • Create visual poems: Composition matters.
  • Composition is additive: Use a lot of adjectives.
  • Connect the dots: Capture the scene as the subject.
  • Create short stories: Tell a story through time.
  • Travel: Spread a worldview of understanding and acceptance.
  • Take chances: An image is more than the sum of its pixels.
  • Follow the National Press Photographer Association’s Code of Ethics.

In this book I explain my manifesto, provide examples, and include a chapter on street photography technique.


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