PHOTOS: Finding Beauty In Downtown Durham’s Buildings And People

Sep 23, 2016

By day, Philip Vignola Jr. works in technology at Research Triangle Park. In his spare time, he likes to roam the streets of downtown Durham and showcase the city’s history and beauty.

Instagram: @bullcitypictures

"Photography is just a passion of mine," said Vignola, 46, a New Hampshire native who lives in Durham. "I love photographing in downtown in a city. There is just something about the beauty of both the buildings and the people in a downtown setting."

Vignola says he's had an interest in photography for as long as he could remember. About two years ago, he started to become more serious about his hobby, and he still considers himself an enthusiast trying to hone and grow his skills.

"Photography has opened my eyes to many things I have overlooked in the past, especially the smaller things in life," he said.

Vignola draws his photographic inspiration mostly from nature and architecture and says he is inspired by beauty from what many would consider "gross or icky" — everything from the daddy long-leg spider to the classic beauty of a sunset.  

"I also love getting shots of the many birds here in Durham from my backyard," he said.

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Related: Discovering The Hidden World Of Fungi In Western North Carolina

Note: This is the fourth installment in an occasional series profiling North Carolina photographers.

A view of historic downtown from the back side of Main St. The brick, exterior walls show graphics and logos of various Durham companies.
Credit Philip Vignola /

Another beautiful downtown landmark the "Old Bull" sign on Blackwell street. "Downtown Durham is beautiful during sunset," said Durham photographer Philip Vignola.
Credit Philip Vignola /

"I can't say I have been to every post office in the U.S., but I would bet this is one of the most beautiful in the country," said Philip Vignola of the downtown Durham Post Office.
Credit Philip Vignola /

The back side of the building that houses Bull City Burger and Brewery offers colorful paintings and murals. Downtown comes to life in the spring and summer when the trees are in bloom, said Durham Photographer Philip Vignola.
Credit Philip Vignola /

The Durham Bulls Athletic Park is a staple of downtown Durham. "Such a beautiful stadium and catching a Bulls game is a great way to spend time with your family," said photographer Philip Vignola.
Credit Philip Vignola /
A hidden nook at the American Tobacco Campus in downtown Durham.
Credit Philip Vignola /

In the reflection on the American Underground building you can see the 21c Hotel and Counting House. "American Underground is an amazing space for up and coming companies in The Bull City," said Durham photographer Philip Vignola.
Credit Philip Vignola /

Perhaps the most iconic landmark in downtown Durham is the Lucky Strike smoke stack in at the American Tobacco Campus.
Credit Philip Vignola /
Soft lights hits the exterior walls of the Durham Hotel, a downtown Durham landmark.
Credit Philip Vignola /