January 27, 2023
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BENJAMIN SIMON

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Scott Cummings was stopped by RFT while photographing the Arch from the steps of the Old Courthouse.

Around 13:00. On a cold December Monday, a man was walking up the steps of the Old Courthouse with a camera on his shoulder. He turned to take a picture of the Arch, but I stopped him. It was Scott Cummings.

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This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

What brings you here today?

I live in the Dallas area. I was given a free ticket on a Southwest Airlines flight. I was driving from Dallas to Oklahoma City. It didn’t work. So I randomly chose St. Louis. I’m just here for the day [from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.] doing street photography.

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This is cool! Do you usually do things like this?

I am a retired school teacher and I have a start-up photography company. So I do everything from stock to fine art to design work. I just love taking pictures, walking around with my camera and exploring different cities. So I did a minimal amount of research — just enough to get from the airport, take the MetroLink to the city center, walk around and be amazed.

What did you do during the four hours you spent here?

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I have seen [Citygarden]. I checked out your old warehouse district and Bush Stadium. But I like the old architecture [and] I saw some art deco stuff. Some dilapidated buildings that I think you guys are going to renovate. White knight [Diner] sandwich shop – it was a real retro. I stuck my head in there. The people were friendly. Made a few shots.

Are you here for the first time?

Yeah. First time.

Does anything surprise you? What is your first impression?

The city center is a bit bigger – maybe it’s post-COVID, maybe it’s a cold day… but it’s not as densely populated. It feels a little abandoned. But I’m calm about it. Because it’s the atmosphere. You can take some cool shots.

What did you know about St. Louis coming?

St. Louis Cardinals. Arch. I’m sort of checking it out right now. It doesn’t look like a great angle [of the Arch]. Some sad day. But I explore and then I strike [the area] south along the river I think the river is near, right?

Right there, yes.

And there should be a graffiti park [south of the Arch]. So I’m interested in this. Because I’ve shot two graffiti parks in Dallas in the last two years. So I could actually show up on one of them. So I have some interest in it.

So when did you become a photographer?

I have always loved photography and was able to retire two years ago. I’m 63 now. So I’m at the point in my life where I still want to work and be active and I just love taking pictures. I just love taking pictures. It’s kind of a way to meet people, to explore, to learn, to keep your brain sharp.

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