Ronney Salerno never thought his blog, Queen City Discovery, would become what it is today. In fact, he admits prior to launching it in 2007, he worried no one would read it and that it would die on the virtual vine.
Turns out, his fears were unwarranted when blogging caused him to discover a passion for, well, discovering. That passion attracted people, and today, his blog has thousands of readers as well as several thousand social media fans.
“It originally began as a blog to document the abandoned locations I would visit and photograph, but has also become a repository for any personal projects I’m working on such as Urban Exploration, photo documentaries, history and whatever else has my attention at the time,” Salerno explains. “Primarily, I use it to focus on my explorations around Cincinnati, but it’s taken me all across the Midwest and soon the Northeast.”
Queen City Discovery means a great deal to Salerno. He says that it’s proof his work exists. It’s also about sharing his adventures with readers. “What makes Queen City Discovery unique is that we take the time to explore and really dive into things most people don’t notice or are curious about but don’t take the time to get to know,” he says. “Whether it’s the abandoned subway system or the old guy sitting at the end of a diner counter.”
Cameron Knight joined as a co-contributor to Queen City Discovery in 2013. The duo met when Salerno worked as Knight’s photography intern at City Beat.
As for the future, Salerno says he wants to continue sharing what he finds interesting while out and about. He says that a lot of Queen City Discovery has become a self reflection of that way he thinks and how he sees the world around him. But his ultimate goal with the blog is to connect with people.
Other than taking on a teammate, Salerno says that his blog has gone from being passed around among friends to joining a network of Cincinnati content creators. He’s even made it onto NBC News with Brian Williams.
Salerno says that he’s loves coming up with an unique angle or original project, either that he either pursues, forgets about or “realizes that it’s just the plot to one of the Mighty Ducks films,” he laughs. “I just kind of keep doing it,” he adds. And by “it” he means finding new stories, subjects and things to shoot.
“Having Cameron helps a lot because he offers fresh ideas and a new perspective,” Salerno says. “I think the main thing is that I just want to keep doing what we’re doing and share our work.”
He eventually wants to curate it all into some sort of book.
Salerno has a list of about 50 projects and places that he wants to photograph. “Some of them are more serious than others, but it all just depends on what I can get to or feel in the mood for,” he explains. “The big thing I’m working on now is continuing my ‘Kings Waffle’ story.”
While he’s covered everything from abandoned malls, buildings and bridges, one of his favorites is the Kings Waffle series. It’s a photo story that offers a look at the portraits of people he’s met while hanging out at his local Waffle House.
In addition to his Kings Waffle project, Salerno says that there’s plenty of urban exploration and historic work to do.
“There’s some abandoned amusement parks I’m looking at and I’d love to get started on an idea I had to visualize where Crosley Field in Cincinnati once was and really paint that history for Reds fans,” he adds.
You can check out the blog by visiting www.QueenCityDisco.com and following along on Facebook. Salerno adds that you can also usually find him drinking coffee at the Waffle House across from Kings Island.