The View From My Car

Mark Fallone

Mark Fallone has been photographing Pittsburgh from his car while sitting in traffic, at red lights or at stop signs. He tells us why.

I'm a commuter. I like driving. On most mornings, my commute from home to my office in Pittsburgh's colorful Strip District where I work as a television director takes more than an hour. I admit, although I like the ride to and from home, when the drive gets a bit tedious, I turn to my favorite pastime: Taking pictures.

A few years ago, I was sitting in traffic at a red light. I picked up the 35mm DSLR camera lying on the passenger seat next to me, aimed the lens into my side mirror and snapped the shutter a couple of times in pure point-and-shoot fashion. I downloaded the photos a few days later and saw a picture of the city I had never seen before in print or on television. There on my laptop screen was the silvery metallic side of my car framed nicely against a blue sky and Pittsburgh's skyline. I thought the image was pretty cool. Today, I'm still safely taking pictures from my car when the opportunities arise.

I'm not alone in my passion for photographing Pittsburgh. Legends like Pittsburgh's Clyde Hare and Teenie Harris cut the way for many like me to establish Pittsburgh as more than just a livable city but as one of our nation's most photogenic cities as well. The catch with my images is simply that they are captured from a view you don't often see in pictures - from the road.

I'm not certain if the images I've captured from my car make profound statements about life as we know it in Pittsburgh. I am, however, absolutely certain that the images I've accumulated through the years are as much a testimony to my enjoyment of driving as they are my love of photography. I'm a commuter who tries to make the most of every commute and I discovered a way to turn what I see from the road into sharable, time-freezing moments. I don't think I can help myself actually. Making pictures is what I do. As a friend told me a few days ago, "The whole From My Car series is really just your way of now and then shooting for yourself instead of your clients." I think he's right. "Enjoy the moments when you see them," he said. I do. In the images taken from my car, I've captured the city how I see it in still life as I move safely through it, immersing myself in the nuances of my city as I see them in through the windows and sunroof of my vehicle.

The next time you're in your car for a commute, take a good look at your city from behind the wheel. Without sacrificing safety, frame a shot in your mind. Allow yourself a moment. When the sunlight is magical and the world around you is moving in a synchronized choreography, frame the scene in your mind. The view from your car on an average commute could result in the perfect picture. Even if you're the only one on the road who sees it.

Mark Fallone lives in North Huntingdon, PA and is a television director and vice president of production for New Perspective in Pittsburgh. Mark is taking the camera out of the car to begin work on WHERE WE LIVE: PITTSBURGH, a photo series about the places we call home. [email protected]

The Exhibit: Mark Fallone's "From My Car: Pittsburgh" series runs from April 23 to May 15 at the The Sewickley Gallery (Sewickley, PA); see for details.