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With an iPhone, artist Mindy Pines photographs the everyday beauty of Richmond

on November 20, 2014

With nothing but a keen eye and an iPhone camera, Mindy Pines, a 59-year-old retired teacher, distills Richmond into photos.  Her compositions capture a bold and lyrical sense of place. She calls herself a “freelance designer, photographer” and a “sometimes reporter.”

In one of her photo essays,  City of Pride and Purpose, she tells the story of Richmond’s election day through images.

“Richmond, California lived up to its motto,  City of Pride and Purpose on Election Day 2014 when voters resoundingly showed they could not be bought,” she wrote.  

On a recent day Pines sat in front of a colorful wall on 23rd Street, wearing a blue shirt and carrying a flower pattern bag. In her hand was an iPhone 5 – her camera of choice, you might say. She held it tight during the talk, preparing to capture every fascinating moment that caught her eye.

A truck with hand-made decorations stopped at the corner of the street. She rushed over, lifting her iPhone and said, ” I sometimes risk my life for this.”

Pines carefully selects unusual locations in Richmond to capture.  The “23rd street area,” as she calls it, is her favorite. Food trucks, letterings, murals- she wants to document them all.

“I am fearful that in years to come, they will be gone,” she said. “In fact, I have pictures of buildings, letterings and great signs that I took a few years ago that have been painted over.”

Pines said for her, iPhone photography isn’t work.  “To me, it is my play, my fun. It’s not intentional. I see things, I capture them.”

Whenever she’s in a bad mood, she will drive down 23rd street to get inspired by the vibrant colors. There are shop facades and walls that she passes regularly, yet it is because of their everyday beauty that Pines finds them beguiling and seductive.

Pines may be proof that good photography doesn’t come from fancy equipment, but rather from the skill of the person on the other side of the viewfinder.

For more stories and photos by Mindy Pines check out


  1. Bruce Kaplan on November 20, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    Mindy has a gift for finding, and capturing, the beauty in the everyday sights around Richmond. Indeed, it’s hard to believe that she gets the shots that she gets with an iPhone. But she does. And Richmond looks better for it!

  2. Karen on November 21, 2014 at 11:14 am

    I live Mindy’s photographs. She perfectly brings out the beauty of what she sees. She has such great respect for her surroundings.

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