Business Portrait Project

May 18, 2020

Downtown Flagstaff, Arizona

I love this town. I love everything about Flagstaff. From the adventures of skiing and hiking you can have on the San Francisco Peaks , to the swaying green aspen trees that light up the town in the fall, to epic monsoon seasons in the summer, Flagstaff has it all. But more than just the beautiful scenery, it’s home to some of the kindest people you will meet in this country. No matter what grocery store you enter, restaurant you sit down at, or little boutique you wander into, you will find friendly kind faces.

Downtown Flagstaff is the heart beat of this town. The businesses that have resided for generations are still standing and can speak to the testament of change this town has seen over the years. New buildings are going up and more people are moving in but what hasn’t changed are the historic downtown buildings that were made from the red sandstone (Moenkopi Formation) that was once quarried in the town in the late 1800’s.

During this pandemic I wanted to document what it means to be human right now and what it means to be a business owner in a small town that thrives in the summer on tourism. I photographed 15 downtown businesses to display the buildings that house the creativity and life flowing through our town. The buildings matter just as much as the people because they speak to the strength this town is built on despite the constant change over the years. Change is never comfortable but it’s needed. Change is what the planet does every second of everyday. This town has seen many changes from wildfires that threaten to burn down the town to influx of people moving to this tiny part of Arizona. Yet, these buildings have stood tall and strong, un wavered by the constant change around them.

I asked to photograph the business owners and employees who are continuing to fight during quarantine to keep their shops open. They are strong individuals who all have hope for the future. Not one questioned or hinted at shutting down rather, they all collectively have this spirit of positivity. I asked them a few questions relating to how their business have been affected by COVID and how has their why been brought back to life through this season. Their responses speak of strength and hope during this unknown season we all find ourselves in.

Read the article FlagLive wrote on my photo project here.

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Meet the HRG Team

creative photographers

The Hannah Rose Gray Team is a boutique photography team aimed on documenting your family legacy with authenticity, fun, and passion! We believe in making friends over clients, creating an unique experience for each friend that comes our way, and creating art that will last generations.


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