Paul Taylor (Photo Courtesy of LinkedIn/Paul E. Taylor)

By Beverly Richards

“Baltimore is a unique, approachable, eclectic, and culturally rich city,” said Paul Taylor, director, Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women Owned Businesses, and “advanced amateur” photographer. 

“You can see it in the architecture, the people, the neighborhoods, the parks. You can see it in the public spaces, anywhere you go. There are cultural, iconic things and places and people that are here, and that have remained here. And I don’t know any other city that’s like this. You go to other cities, and they just smash and rebuild. They’re somewhat sterile in that. But this city is very rich with it. You know?”

Taylor may be a non-professional photographer, but he is known for his passion and eye for detail and passion for capturing the essence and the charm of the city. “I love photographing Baltimore. I go around the city and I take pictures of buildings and people. I take pictures of parades, of the mayor interacting with people and touching people. There’s (sic) very few cities where, you say, I talked to the mayor. And someone else says, “Well I’ll go talk to his mom. That’s how I get to him.” You know what I mean? So, I try to focus my camera on that kind of interconnectivity throughout Baltimore.”

In addition to taking pictures around town, Taylor has a few favorite hangout spots. A gregarious person, he likes going to places where he engages people in conversation. “There’s a place called Indigo [Hotel], on Fayette and Park Avenue. It used to be the YWCA. It has a little restaurant down on the first floor. You could see and meet people there from all walks of life, all parts of the country. They’re coming to a conference, or a business meeting, and they stay there. And I go hang out just to talk to people. I love talking to them,” he said. 

“A friend of mine started a little place that he opens on Thursdays, and it’s just to play jazz. It’s called Orion, on Fillmore Street, near City College. It’s a little place that used to be a garage.  The outside doesn’t look like anything to write home about. You go in there and it’s beautiful. The guys have fixed it up.”

Orion, he continued, has a saxophone player, keyboard player, a drummer, and a bass player. Then people get up and sing. “I heard a lady, she calls herself Songbird singing one day, and it was so touching because she was singing from her heart. It was beautiful.” 

Baltimore, concluded Taylor, is amazing. It is a place for those interested in community. “If you talk to people, they will give you chapter and verse about their beautiful community. You know, they’ll also tell you about some of the challenges and where you might want to be careful if you go walking around at night. But they’ll tell you about it. It’s also a place where people love their dogs and animals. In fact, I have a neighbor who walks their pig.”