Ballard’s Street Style inspires a visual storytelling journey

By Isabella Craig | UW News Lab

Equipped with a Canon EOS M50, Christopher Miller can be found at the Ballard Farmers Market snapping pictures of local fashionistas, rain or shine.

Miller’s Instagram account, BallardStreetStyle, serves as both a creative outlet and a way to connect with the people of Seattle through photography and style.

Inspired by the now-defunct street-style blog It’s My Darlin’, Miller embarked on his Instagram journey to ignite his passion for capturing people in unique outfits. The blog, which showcased individuals in the Pacific Northwest for their fashion senses, resonated with Miller.

The cessation of posts from It’s My Darlin’ inspired Miller to take strides in filling a niche that was now missing. With its diverse crowd and proximity to his home, the bustling Ballard Farmers Market became the perfect set to begin his journey in fashion photography. “I come to the farmers market and don’t buy anything–I just come and people watch. I started thinking that I should do something about it. I’ve got a camera; why not bring it with me and fill in that hole that occurred when It’s My Darlin’ stopped.” 

Featured photo: Christopher Miller, the photographer behind Ballard Street Style, stands in front of the Ballard Farmers Market after his usual photography outing on May 5, 2024. Photo by Isabella Craig. 

Armed with a camera and a purpose, Miller can be found wandering around the Ballard Farmers Market, which is operated every Sunday along the stretch of Ballard Avenue NW between Vernon Place and 22nd Ave. 

Ballard Street Style has been active since July 2023, maintaining a steady stream of posts every Sunday. Miller, who hasn’t previously engaged in social media, minus a few Reddit posts here and there, has been thrilled that so many people have taken interest in his account.

A wide range of styles and people are featured on Miller’s Instagram, ranging from Air Jordans to crocheted cardigans. The process for who gets to be featured is not clear-cut. Miller says, “I like when people are going for it, where they’re putting themselves out there. It’s important to me that I’m not just taking pictures of conventionally attractive people. I want to take pictures of all kinds of people who are interested in cool clothes.” 

Unlike some may assume upon first glance at his Instagram, Miller says, “I do not like to think of myself as a photographer. I’m more interested in people than I am in photography. I would encourage anybody who is interested in photography or style just to go out there and do it. Because, like I said, I don’t really have any idea what I’m doing.”

Meeting people is at the heart of Miller’s work. Despite identifying as an introvert, taking photos allows Miller to grow new connections to his Ballard community and even run into familiar faces from previous Ballard Street Style features. “I once took a picture of a person who already followed me, and it was really cool,” Miller recalled. Connecting with his fellow Ballard neighbors and market visitors has been Miller’s motivation behind his photography.

If you ever walk around the market on a Sunday afternoon, you may run into Miller and his camera. “Nothing I’ve ever done in the past has ever made me feel so connected to my community.”