Orange Blossom Trail

Here is my ode to the Trail, my favorite road in Orlando…

U.S. Route 441 is a north/south highway that runs over 400 mile long from the north border of Georgia down to Miami. For a short section in Central Florida, US 441 becomes Orange Blossom Trail or “The Trail” Though OBT technically runs from Tangerine to Kissimmee, FL most people consider “The Trail” the 7 mile stretch from HWY 50 in the North to Sandlake Road in the South. Lined with pawn shops, strip clubs, sleazy motels, and sketchy bars, The Trail is a hotbed for seedy characters and criminal activity. Over 75% of the prostitution arrests in Orange County happen on this stretch of road, one drive down the Trail and it will be apparently obvious why. While the Trail may not be a great place to hang out it still is one of the main roads in our city and one of the fastest routes to some of our major highways. People of all races, classes, and backgrounds walk and bike the street to their destination, something very rare in Orlando. Add this to the mix of eclectic businesses and the Trail just feels ALIVE. Driving down the street I always find myself rubbernecking as I regularly drove down OBT en route to my friends house off Oakridge near the south end. Eventually this led to U-turns and some of the bolder moments in my photographic life. Stopping on the trail and photographing various people became commonplace, it seemed like almost once every trip down the street. As the years have gone by I realized I amassed quite a few photos from the Trail and the blocks surrounding it. Here is my ode to the Trail, my favorite road in Orlando.


    COMMENTS

  1. cesar

    Great work. I always drive OBT and see the photo moments…but to be honest, I’ve been afraid to stop and shoot. Basically being afraid of how the locals would react.

    Glad you got to do it. Maybe it will inspire me.

  2. Brigitte

    The picture of the man underneath the concrete bridge, holding his hands in prayer with a celestial light coming from the distance is quite moving. All of these pictures are quite moving. Cheers.

  3. Cliveds

    Fantastic work, thank you for sharing.

  4. Ant

    WOW! This is terrific and shows so much. Thank you! Great shots

  5. karen

    wow. what a crazy blog. but i LOVE the realness about it. its beautiful even thru the hardness of the peoples expression and way of living.

  6. Summer

    I love this Bear! Especially the one with the plants and the vacuum! Great work.

  7. Rachel

    Your images are thought provoking and seem to construct a kind of image ethnography of the OBT. I like that I may unabashedly look long and hard into another person’s eyes– or are they looking into mine? I especially liked how your choice of film changed the mood of the image–for example the tire guys looking serious in a cool b+w contrasted with the tire guys slightly smiling in a warmer sepia. I love Florida, no matter what they say….thanks.

  8. Erika

    These are really quite fantastic. I’d love to see you do more of these from different parts of Orlando. Have you considered doing a shoot in Viet Town?

  9. Jen

    Stunning photography! You create some beauty out of some hard reality….at the same time making one think deeper thoughts about those realities. Thank you.

  10. James

    I have to drive this stretch of road at least twice a week, and usually do it with a judgmental scowl. Your humanizing photos have competently turned me around. People is people is people!

  11. Parker

    Raw, thought-provoking and real.. fantastic work. What a great surprise coming across this collection.

  12. quinn

    I am a native or orlando and have seen the trail change from good and thriving to crime and despair you have done what many would have never done.

    So thank you to the pictures you have taken

  13. Lalania

    Beautiful!

  14. Neighborhood Leading with LaDeitra: Determination and Patience «

    [...] Palms Trailer Park is located between two highways on Orange Blossom Trail – “OBT” as it is affectionately referred to.  OBT is notorious for the business of buying and selling [...]

  15. Erik

    Incredible. I LOVE O-TOWN!

  16. Becky

    Wow, this post is epic.

  17. Georgia

    Love the work! Pictures are gorgeous & humble and subjects are intriguing.

  18. Jameson

    I am currently displaced out of Orlando. Stranded in Iowa for the time being and have been missing home. My buddy hit me off with this website and I just wanted to let you know that it brought back some great memories! OBT really is a spectacle that one must appreciate to really call Orlando home! Thanks for giving me a small peice of home while I’m here in the midwest!

  19. Rebecca

    What you’ve captured and shared here is amazing. This is the Orlando beyond the suburbian boxes of ticky-tacky and pre-packaged amusements.

    There are so many examples of urban photography that feel voyeuristic, exploitative, manufactured. These photographs however, are genuine, intimate and thought-provoking.

    Beautiful work.

  20. KFinn

    really great work.

  21. Angie

    So authentic. Really enjoyed this. amazing work.

  22. Dee

    awesome photos..love your work

  23. Orange Blossom Trail | The Gay Road Less Traveled

    [...] Orange Blossom Trail [...]

  24. Post a Random Pic Thread - Page 135

    [...] Re: Post a Random Pic Thread In Orlando, there is a stretch of road known as OBT by the local tykes of Central Florida. Orange Blossom Trail is known for many things one may expect from the heart of a City like Orlando, where different cultures and classes mix. More than just a recurring joke to all of Florida about Prostitutes, Reposessions and Pawn Shops, the roadway is actually used by all types of people with varied, sorted lives. The "Urban" or "Ghetto" names it is brandished with were entirely new to me when I moved here and continue to be. The differences you would find traveling from Orange Blossom Trail through Downtown Orlando, to the upperclass Celebration, the rolling citrus groves of Clermont, rural backdrop of Groveland and the altered reality of the Theme Parks that lie right in the middle of the rest is truly surprising. The way that Central Florida can change so drastically with one fifteen minute trip. I Believe, in a way, that photograph sums up my opinions of Central Florida very well. (Photo source, featuring a variety of photographs from Orange Blossom Trail: http://journal.bryansoderlind.com/un…som-trail.html) [...]