Growing up in Maryland, I can remember ice skating on friends’ ponds and months of what seemed like uninterrupted cold, where coats and gloves and hats were always tinged with ice. I remember blizzards and snow forts big enough for all the neighborhood kids to crawl inside. Just a few decades later I find myself jogging in shorts outside on New Year’s Day, only to spend the next week running the hot water to keep my pipes from freezing. More than ever before, winter in Baltimore is a seesaw from tropical to arctic, and the weekly weather forecast is likely to predict every possible scenario in between.
Greg McKay’s winter Baltimore photos are a clear reminder that when it snows here it’s beautiful. Not only is it quiet, blanketed in a quilt of downy white, but our entire city shuts down. People are encouraged to stay home because we all drive terribly, and kids get a day off from school to sled in any number of public parks. As these snow days grow fewer and further in between, they become more precious and magical, a reality that will perhaps be only preserved in photos in coming years.
The photographer fell in love with Baltimore six years ago when he relocated from Rochester to attend graduate school at Johns Hopkins for a Md-Phd in biomedical optics. Photography was always a passion and a hobby for the Massachusetts native, but in Baltimore McKay found himself consumed with capturing ephemeral moments where light, texture, the built environment, and occasional human activity comes together in ecstatic bursts of color.
You can follow McKay on Instagram at @beauty_of_baltimore where he shares his images with a growing fanbase, capturing early morning and late night impressions of Baltimore on foot, and by bicycle and kayak, where unique combinations of lighting sources, majestic skies, and dramatic water views serve as a counterpoint for historic and contemporary architecture, as well as moments of quiet urban living. Although we all recognize Baltimore in McKay’s images, he presents a nuanced and personal vision of a city where anything is possible and inspiration is available in abundance, focusing on the aesthetic benefits of living in a small historic city.