Saba Alhadi was visiting her retired father when she received the phone call. A man on the other end, with a British accent, informed her he'd seen her photos of the city of Boston. He worked with Random House and wanted to publish her work—provided she write a book about the city and furnish it with her photographs of 16 historic sites. More than five years later, Saba's book, Boston in Photographs can be found on gift-shop shelves in the Old State House. Formerly a travel agent, she began building her portfolio as she turned her lens on the city and developed photography walking tours through historic neighborhoods.
On each of her tours, she reveals historic details such as brick sidewalks, verdant cemeteries, Romanesque courtyards, and flower-packed window boxes, and encourages those on her tour to look for unlikely subjects. Meanwhile, she interlaces the history with photo tips on how colors on different buildings complement each other, how a reflection of a historic church in a window can become a composition, and how to keep a historic interpreter from startling when the shutter goes off. She also devises scavenger hunts throughout Victorian neighborhoods, sending participants scattering to decode cryptic clues that draw on notable local facts, such as which districts were once home to wealthy citizens and which homes have pools in the backyard.