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News Community Local photographers participate in worldwide event

A photograph of members of the photo walk made its own “hometown” statement. Photos by Bobby Coggins, Bonnie Pickartz & Matt BatemanPhoto walks held to promote the beauty of hometowns

In celebration of the one year anniversary of Google+, individuals in 106 cities around the world participated in photo-walks to promote their hometowns.

The community-sponsored event was started by Thomas Hawk of Oakland, Calif. to celebrate the first year since Google+ launched and quickly spread to become a worldwide event in small towns and major cities from Paris to Tokyo and even right here in Franklin, North Carolina.

Four separate businesses utilize this historic building in downtown Franklin.The Franklin event, which was spearheaded by Franklin native and local blogger and photographer Bobby Coggins, consisted of 10 individuals who trekked through downtown Franklin taking photographs of the town's historic buildings. “It was a fun experience,” said Coggins. “I enjoyed walking through downtown Franklin with the other photo walk participants and seeing the photographs they took and was amazed at the creativity of everyone involved.”

According to Bonnie Pickartz, another one of the event organizers, she and Coggins determined the path that the photo-walkers would take and designed several stopping points along the way to ensure the group really captured all Franklin has to offer in the summer months, like the Franklin Farmer's Tailgate Market.

“We had a great turn out,” said Pickartz. “We had 10 people come out and braved the heat to take part in Franklin's very first photo-walk.”

According to Pickartz, Franklin's turnout fared well compared to other cities like Kansas City that only had eight participants. The photo-walk is for participants of all ages and skill level and is intended to capture the history and culture of towns around the world. Photo-walkers can then upload their photos to their town's Google+ page, where the photos can be viewed by patrons around the world. Ultimately, the event serves as a fun, community project the promotes individual towns and cities around the world.

Pickartz said that the group plans to hosts photo-walks once a month or at least every six weeks. “We want to plan walks for different areas of Macon County,” she said. “We want to go to Dry Falls, maybe go out to Cowee for the day, even spend the day on the trail. The event is great for photographers and hobbyists alike.”

The first ever photo-walk held in Franklin wraps up at the picturesque clock tower. Plans are in the works to stage more photo walks in the near future.To capture different times of the day and the change in seasons, Pickartz explained that photowalks will be planned at the same location at different times of the day and during the fall and winter months. “Saturday we toured downtown,” said Pickartz. “When the leaves start to change we may do downtown again to capture what it looks like in the fall, and this winter may even do it after it snows.”

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