A Candid Street Photography Walk Through Hamilton's Supercrawl


You won't see concert photography here, although I do include musicians performing in the streets. You won't see headliner stage performance shots here, but you will see reality, as I saw it, what stood out to me, in the manner it stood out. In the streets.

What did I enjoy most about Supercrawl? I know many enjoyed the musical lineup. I did too. I know many were enthralled by the selection of food choice. Whatever your pallet desired, you were sure to find it. If you're a food truck junky, it was a spectacle not to be missed. Not to forgot the countless new eateries that have recently opened their doors. I know many were impressed with the art installations, fashion runway shows, and the overall programming. All terrific. But for me it was the people. In the thousands. Smiling faces. Of all colours, shapes and sizes. The families, strollers, and the curious observers. Often-times I have to venture down the highway into Toronto to find anything close to what I would call an intense event of critical mass. So to just walk up a few blocks from my studio to take in the smells, sights and sounds of bustling Hamilton streets so close to home is always a real treat. Another chance to continue my ongoing visual narrative project that is A Candid Street Photography Walk Through Hamilton's Supercrawl. 

This street photo collection is separated into two sections. Below is a slideshow of what I captured in 2016. Followed by a collage spanning the years 2013-2015 you'll find at the bottom of this page. I hope you enjoy the tour. I look forward to next years' Supercrawl. Rain or shine.

[Please note, it might take a few moments for all the photos to load in the slide show, there are LOTS of them.]

About Supercrawl

Supercrawl is an annual art and indie music festival held in downtown Hamilton, Ontario. This is their 8th year and my 4th time photographing it in the streets. Supercrawl is produced and organized by the folks at Sonic Unyon Records. In 2009 it was just a one day event that attracted roughly 5,000 visitors. It didn't take long for it to become a three day weekend event attracting over 150,000 people.

The idea of Supercrawl was inspired by the monthly event known as Art Crawl, a walking tour of art galleries, studios, shops and eateries along James Street North. Art Crawl has been going strong now for over 10 years. Maybe a couple dozen people at best were there for the first ever “art crawl". Today it attracts thousands of artists, lovers of art, and foodie types every month. It has become a social cultural spectacle, especially during the warmer months. Art Crawl has a fascinating history, and to this day continues to flourish organically. Nobody "runs" it. It is what it is. For more about Art Crawl I encourage you to watch the documentary "Hearts: A Film About Hamilton’s Art Crawl" which discusses its roots. You can find that film linked in the Video section of this website.

So Hamilton's little secret is out. A manufacturing town and former steel making powerhouse is a City rich in music, art, architecture and yes, even a beautiful waterfront wonderfully nestled in splendored lushness of the Niagara Escparment, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. But it has always been that. What is different today are the growing numbers of gallery's and studios, restaurants, bars, shops and coffee houses teeming with people, folks spilling out into the streets during art crawls. Hamilton is vibrant and alive. Downtown is becoming gently gentrified. Hard not to love that. If you were to stroll downtown and hit up James St. North 20 years ago, let’s just say it was a very different scene. Even I didn’t feel safe walking it at night back then. That has all dramatically changed. We must thank the many hard working creatives, doers, thinkers and risk takers who continue to seed and nurture this transition for all these many years. They are the real heroes. As are the patrons.

I have photographed many art crawl evenings over the years - perhaps that will become a future photo essay for the blog.

~Alex Zafer, your friendly neighbourhood candid street photographer ;-) 

Supercrawl Street Photography 2013-2015

Supercrawl Street Photography 2013-2016

Photographs by Alex Zafer