Ever since dog-friendly Park Lafayette opened – two new towers built atop a former green space a block and half away from our building – we have a lot more pups in our neighborhood. Big, small, pedigreed, mutts: they are everywhere now, chasing balls on the beach, sauntering past sidewalk cafés, waiting for their owners outside the market.

It never occurred to me to take their pictures before, but with this installation of “Sidewalk Series” – photos of things I find on City of Milwaukee sidewalks – I’ve begun. In addition to canines, you’ll find fall leaves. Heartwarming graffiti. Heartbreaking graffiti. An intact, left-behind McDonald’s meal. A country-fried steak sandwich still in its wrapper, sitting outside the District 1 headquarters of the Milwaukee Police Department.

There’s Homer Simpson. A page from a very old book written in Spanish. White paint tracked down Brady Street. Hairbands and hot peppers, the two objects I find most often. I wonder why so many bands fall out of hair without their wearers knowing it. The hot peppers – peperoncini and jalapeños mostly – are always strewn about as if someone, upon opening his or her to-go container on the way home from one of the dozens of restaurants on the East Side, was so repulsed as to discard them immediately.

One of the more interesting objects is a clothespin with “Eric Sommer.com” stamped on it. Turns out Eric Sommer is an East Coast musician who’d just played in Milwaukee at The Up and Under on Brady Street and uses the clothespins as business cards.


I have a Tumblr now! It’s where the pictures I don’t use here live.

For more photos of fall leaves on sidewalks, seeIn the fog

Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of “Sidewalk Series”


  1. After leaving my Milwaukee home, fer love, nearly 8 years ago, slightly more than a 7 year cycle, your photos evoke so many different emotions, Robin, all of them warming my cockles or making me giggle.
    During my Milwaukee childhood: 50’s and 60’s,, the stamps in the cement on the sidewalk, often times said LaLonde and the date. We called them “stinkfish”. If they had a maker stamp on them, we didn’t step on that square, or you were a stinkfish.
    Thanks for these words.

    • Oh, I love this story! Reminds me of the crazy (good-crazy) things my brothers used to come up with when we were kids. For example: We lived in Cleveland and traveled to Pittsburgh often to visit our grandparents on both sides (aunts, uncles, cousins too). Our family of six piled into the car and headed east on the Ohio Turnpike. At one point not so far out of Cleveland there was this huge bridge that arched over the turnpike, the passing under of which was greatly anticipated by my brothers, who insisted it was the border between Ohio and Africa. As soon as they’d see it, they’d begin chanting, “Ohio, Ohio, Ohio…” and soon as we went under it and out the other side they’d yell, “Africa!” Somewhere on my computer I have a shot of a Milwaukee sidewalk stamp that was filled in with a bunch of tiny seeds or ragweed buds, I forget which. When I find it I’ll share it with you. Thank you so much, Kathleen.

  2. I love the Sidewalk Series. “Things you see when looking down.” I especially liked #4, the ghosts of leaves.

    The images are so evocative. Fragments of lives, seen completely out of context. Please keep taking them.

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