January 19, 2022

MLK Day Parade: Photographer Tre Butler shows us the beauty of south St. Pete's 'Dream Street'

Tre Butler was born-and-raised on the southside of St. Petersburg. And on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 9th Street was the only place to be. On Monday, Butler—who shoots under the Junior moniker—was there again, but this time with a wealth of photography experience under his belt.

"I grew up in awe of the culture of the city," Butler—who's pointed his camera at artists like Nas, Freddie Gibbs and Isaiah Rashad—told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. Makes sense, because he was a recording artist first.

"I’ve always been huge on storytelling through music and wanted to find a way to expand on that; then I found the camera," he added. "Doing photography has allowed me to capture moments and stories that music couldn’t."

Butler said these stills from Monday's festivities are some of his favorite to date. Having it all go down on 9th Street was icing on the cake.

He said the street was a place where the neighborhood could put on its best outfits, see family, grab some BBQ and listen to southern music. Butler wanted to capture the cars and gold teeth, what he called "a major part of southern culture."

"I wanted to capture the essence of that. The 'Southside' of St. Pete is often viewed in a negative light, I wanted to shed one that’s positive on it; showing the culture in its truest form," Butler added. "Every photo I took I feel has its own story. It feels like the camera brought me deeper into the world of the street that I used to walk as a kid. 9th street. I see joy on the faces of the people captured. I see people of all ages coming together for a day. I see beauty and I see love. This is what 'Dream Street' is about."

Follow @mindofjr on Instagram and Facebook.—Ray Roa
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MLK Day Parade: Photographer Tre Butler shows us the beauty of south St. Pete's 'Dream Street'
MLK Day Parade: Photographer Tre Butler shows us the beauty of south St. Pete's 'Dream Street'
MLK Day Parade: Photographer Tre Butler shows us the beauty of south St. Pete's 'Dream Street'
MLK Day Parade: Photographer Tre Butler shows us the beauty of south St. Pete's 'Dream Street'
MLK Day Parade: Photographer Tre Butler shows us the beauty of south St. Pete's 'Dream Street'

Join the Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Press Club

At a time when local-based reporting is critical, support from our readers is essential to our future.