Coffee, Coffee Shops, Photography

Candids & Cortados

Barista Cam Brown hosts weekly photography meet-up

Cam Brown Barista Espresso A Mano

With a focused gaze straight into his hands, Cameron Brown cups a carafe of steamed milk. His face reflects off the beaming metallic surfaces of a commercial espresso machine.

As a full-time barista at Espresso A Mano in Lawrenceville, Brown is the smiling, front-of-house presence; greeting guests and pulling espresso. It’s what he does off-the-clock that stirs up a passionate conversation: street photography.

Cam Brown Espresso A Mano

“I work AROUND my work schedule,” Brown explains. “You can think of my photography as a collection of ‘street candids.’ And they are entirely driven by the city.”

We caught up with Brown to learn more about his weekly street photography meetup, aptly named: ‘Happy Hour.’

Cam Brown in front of Espresso a Mano

Announced, planned and organized all via his personal Instagram (@bamcrown), Happy Hour normally takes place during the evenings on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.

“Honestly it rotates every week; all depends on when I’m here at the coffee shop.”

cam brown espresso a mano

The meetups are marked by several aspiring photographers convening in a central part of a Pittsburgh neighborhood with steady foot traffic. Brown answers questions and encourages his attendees to feel comfortable with their cameras.

“We’ve done downtown a few times. Bloomfield has some great spots. During the (academic) school year, Oakland seems to always have people out walking around,” Brown says. “I try to pick a spot and wait for a subtle moment or natural vignette.”

Brown tells us the idea of creating his own meetup was spawned by a couple of things.

“I need a community to keep me accountable. When we meet, we go out and we shoot. We’re constantly learning from one another and trying new things and gathering new content.”

Cam Brown Barista

Other photography meetups around the city focus primarily on human (portrait) photography. Shooting candid photos that are not posed or planned allows Brown to take a different approach.

Cam Brown

“Street candids capture the true essence of people living. When we’re out there shooting during Happy Hour, we all walk out with our own experience…and plenty of photos to share with the creative community.”


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Getaway, 2018

A post shared by Cam (@bamcrown) on

Cam Brown Laughing

Follow @bamcrown on Instagram to learn more about Happy Hour and to see which selections are revealed on Cameron’s Instagram and IG Stories.