Wild & Wanderful

Meet Me in the Alley | The Gallery

Katy McKinleyComment

It happened.  The big day finally arrived and Bennett was able to unveil his entire collection of alley photographs to the people of Wheeling.  Technically, they’ve already seen them all over Facebook and social media sites but they’ve never been in a printed context like this.

He’s worked really hard and spent a lot of time meeting people for portraits, editing, marketing, answering emails, being interviewed, etc.  A lot has gone into this.  And it’s not even over yet.  Bennett has a goal to get 1,000 people to pose in his beloved alley.  Wowza.

When you first get off the elevator, you are greeted by the McKinley family members.  We were hesitant to do this at first but did it anyway.  It’s kind of neat to have us all together in one space of our own.


In addition to the large black & white photographs, he printed a color photo for the participants of the series to be able to take home for themselves. 


When you have your photograph taken for the series, it’s a very simple process…

Bennett takes your picture.  Free of charge.  It takes all of five minutes (and that’s stretching it!) to hit your best Tyra Banks pose.  All you really have to do is show up, sign a photo release form and pose.  Bennett handles the rest.  Once your photos are ready, Bennett emails you with a link so you can go and download a high resolution version of your photo.  FOR FREE.  Plus, he always edits a second image in color and gives you that one too.

Free, free, free.  He didn’t do this to make money or bring fame to his name.  Bennett loves photography.  He loves Wheeling.  And the loves the people here that he has formed connections with…especially through Meet Me in the Alley.


The gallery is available for viewing during the entire month of August and it’s free of charge to get in and see it.  Anyone who might want to venture that way certainly can.  We are eternally grateful for the Wheeling Artisan Center (and the amazing people who run it!!) for hosting Meet Me in the Alley and the whole slew of people that came out last night to make it the party it was.


Right before we headed there, Bennett was notified that WTRF was going to be live broadcasting from the opening.  #famoushusband

It mildly ticks me off that he’s so cool and calm on camera.  Bennett is articulate and doesn’t cry like I do when the tape starts rolling.  It hardly seems fair.


We were lucky enough to get Sean Decker to play for the crowd while the event was happening.  I’ve now heard Sean play three times and I’ve loved every single time he’s played.  He’s super talented and mildly goofy.  To me, that’s the perfect storm.  I believe he is in a band in the area called “Mr. Fancy Pants” and I would absolutely love to check them out soon.


A huge, ridiculous THANK YOU goes in the direction of our friends Mimi and Jeff.  Not only did they help us so much with putting the gallery together, but somehow they became our impromptu babysitters and took Louis under their wing.  Thank goodness they did…I don’t know how I would have survived the night otherwise.  I owe them big time.  BIG TIME.


People always have a lot of things to say about where they live.  Most of the time, it’s filled with complaints about how they wish “this were better” or “this didn’t exist” or “there’s nothing to do”.  You will never hear that come from Bennett and me.  Ever.

If you looked around last night, the only thing you saw were bits of positivity, literally pouring out of everyone.  The people who were there were of all ages and all walks of life.  Business owners, City Council members, artists, parents, students, politicians…the works.  And they were all there with a common bond.  Every person there was what is good about our city.

Inspiring, really.


Thank you so much to everyone who had any part in the success of Meet Me in the Alley.  Obviously we didn’t do it alone.


Meet Me in the Alley isn’t over yet.  If you want your picture taken, Bennett will be starting back up in August.  Later in the month because…well, because we need to take a breather, go on a family vacation and get Louis ready for going back to school.  Check his Facebook page for updates (and I’m trying to convince him to start an email list so everyone will be sure to get a notification when he heads to the alley).

What. A. Night.
Thanks Wheeling!