As It Happens

Instagram account captures the sublime beauty of...the bollard

Andrew Choate's hobby has earned him 50,000 followers on Instagram. The catch is he only photographs bollards, a short pole used to control vehicle access.

L.A. poet Andrew Choate has an unusual hobby: photographing short poles called bollards from around the world and posting them to his Instagram that has almost 50,000 followers.

My family thought I was strange taking photographs of things in alleys and near trash cans.- Andrew Choate

Bollards are the poles that stop cars from driving into buildings or anywhere else traffic is not wanted.

"They're so beautiful and they're everywhere and you have to make peace with the things that are around you," Choate tells As It Happens guest host Laura Lynch.

"My family thought I was strange taking photographs of things in alleys and near trash cans" says Choate. "But once you see a certain quantity of them, you realize, 'Wow there is something going on there!'"

Choate's bollard obsession began while he was living in California. While on bike rides, he would take pictures of the backs of buildings. That's when he started noticing bollards,

"It was the bollards that drew my attention because they're framed by these giant windowless walls."

Choate's hobby has also gotten him in a bit of hot water. The National Security Agency (NSA) tracked him down because his car was seen at a site where he was taking pictures.

"They thought I was taking pictures of an evacuation plan of a building, but I was taking pictures of the bollard," says Choate.

Andrew Choate is an avid bollard photographer (Micke Keysendal)

Choate posts photos of bollards from around the world. Some he takes, others are sent to him by his followers. He says bollards are different everywhere you go. Paris has thinner ones. Vienna's are green or silver. And most North American ones are the round, cylindrical ones made of cement.

Many may not know that Canada plays a huge roll in the bollard industry. "The Reliance Foundry outside of Vancouver is a major producer of North American bollards," Choate says.


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