You can be joyous

11 10 2012




You can be joyous

11 10 2012




Chinatown Storefronts: A to Z

15 02 2010

For this documentary photography project, I stayed in Chinatown and found businesses beginning with A through Z. The only business here not taken (precisely) in Chinatown is “United Check Cashing,” which is located inside of Market East Terminal, beneath the entrance at 10th and Filbert. For more information, please click the map below.

A is for Abacus Federal Savings Bank

B is for Bread Top House

C is for Cherry Street Chinese Kosher Vegetarian Restaurant

D is for Discover Travel and Shipping Co.

E is for Engine 20, Ladder 23, Medic 1

F is for Freedman Shoe Co.

G is for Gifts Shop

H is for Hong Bo Buffet

I is for Ivy Bridal & Photography

J is for Jade Harbor

K is for Ken's Seafood Restaurant OK Party Room

L is for Liberty Real Estate Associates

M is for Mong Kok Station Bakery

N is for Nong Dua Cheng, LLC: Attorneys at Law

O is for On Lok House

P is for Produce Market

Q is for QT Vietnamese Sandwich

R is for Rong Cheng Grocery Market

S is for Shanghai Bazaar

T is for Tai Lake Seafood Restaurant

U is for United Check Cashing (and Unpossible to find in Chinatown)

V is for Vietnam Palace Restaurant

W is for Wanbao Plaza

X is for Xe Lua Vietnamese & Thai Restaurant

Y is for Yummy Yummy

Z is for Zhong Gang Bakery, Inc.





Post-Snowpocalyptic Wasteland: Mapping Spruce Street

9 02 2010

This is a project for my Documentary Photography class where I took one picture per block from the Schuykill River to the Delaware River. I started at Schuykill River Park at little before noon on Sunday, the day after the snowstorm of this century, and made my way down to the Delaware River.

11:45 a.m., Schuykill River Park

After tromping through calf-deep snow, I am rewarded with a charging dog.

11:48 a.m., Between 25th and 24th

The journey begins. Spruce is one of the main streets in Philadelphia that have been (mostly) cleared.

11:52 a.m., Corner of 23rd

Three huskies, in their natural element. They were on their way to Schuykill River Park.

11:56 a.m., Between 23rd and 22nd

By noon, some locals were clearly thinking ahead. Behind the Mini cooper, another car has a lot of work ahead of it.

12:00 p.m., Between 22nd and 21st

I find blue snow more unnerving than yellow snow.

12:04 p.m., Between 21st and 20th

A cactus basks in a ray of sunlight, safely inside.

12:10 p.m., 1913 Spruce Street (between 20th and 19th)

Surprisingly, this is only the first of two snowmen I see all day – and neither one was real.

12:13 p.m., Corner of 19th

Just blocks south of Rittenhouse Square, an elderly couple crosses a dirty mix of snow and salt.

12:23 p.m., Between 18th and 17th

Clearly, the melting has begun. Water sprays from a leaky drainpipe

12:28 p.m., Between 17th and 16th

Not all dogs get to kick it at the River Park; this guy gazes longingly outside.

12:31 p.m., Between 16th and 15th

One of the few beer distributors around, Spruce Market sees a lot of business.

12:35 p.m., Corner of 15th

As the day enters the afternoon, the street glistens, steam rises and melt water accumulates in exposed drains.

12:42 p.m., Looking North up Broad toward City Hall

Let it go, let it go, let it go.

12:48 p.m., Looking north up Watts Street (between Broad and 13th)

An untended, dark alley offers a glimpse of what much of the rest of Philadelphia looks like the day after the snowstorm of the 21st century.

12:55 p.m., Between 13th and 12th

On the plus side, this owner won’t need a heavy duty shovel and ice scraper for their small vehicle.

12:58 p.m., Chartreuse, corner of 12th

This snowman inside the storefront window blends seamlessly with the reflected snowy scene outside. My self portrait for the day.

1:02 p.m., Spruce Street Espresso, corner of 11th

I would hate to be the one walking under this when it breaks.

1:06 p.m., Corner of 10th

In retrospect, I wish I ran up to them to get their story. The little girl being dragged in the sled was having a blast.

1:13 p.m., Mikveh Israel Cemetery, between 9th and 8th

Viewed through the locked gate of the cemetery.

1:17 p.m., Between 8th and 7th

I understand the trail on the left; I wonder about the story behind the footprints that go halfway up the stairs in the middle. Did they give up and go back? Were they abducted by aliens?

1:21 p.m., Between 7th and 6th

The flowers match the shutters and window box perfectly; I wonder if they popped out from the snow on their own or if their caretaker fished them out.

1:24 p.m., Between 6th and 5th

A lovely archway and courtyard.

1:29 p.m., Between 6th and 5th

The reflection from the back of a truck’s chrome side mirror.

1:31 p.m., Looking north, up 4th Street

An ATV with a plow jumpstarts a truck with a plow…

1:34 p.m., Corner of 3rd

… and some kind of bulldozer with a plow. Over the course of the day, I saw all types of trucks with plows; if Philadelphia had spare mules with plows, I think they’d use those, too.

1:39 p.m., Between 2nd and Front

I REALLY regret not getting their story. I also REALLY had to pee.

1:57 p.m. (after a desperately needed bathroom break)

After nearly twenty minutes spent looking for a public restroom, I finally took this picture, looking South, at the Olympia, which is right on the waterfront of Spruce.





Strange (to me) Couples at Independence Mall

2 02 2010

For this project, I spoke to twelve couples at Independence Mall.

Disclaimer: I approached these pairs under the assumption that they were romantically involved (based largely on their body language); however, during my interview, I asked no questions to confirm or deny this. I was cold and they were cold and for the purposes of this project, I was more interested in how they looked together than knowing about how they came to be together.

Joseph and Mona are visiting Philadelphia from New York City, and, according to Joseph, they’ve been here “five minutes.” They had just driven in from Atlantic City. They said, so far, they only had time to see Independence Mall and the Liberty Bell which would be their favorite thing about Philadelphia; Joseph said his least favorite thing about Philadelphia was the Phillies. “I didn’t say that,” Mona added.

Joe and Valarie were also visiting Philadelphia for a few days; Valarie said they were from California and New York. Joe said his favorite thing about Philadelphia was the “cheap cab rides” in comparison to Calfornia and New York, and added that he liked the food here and the University of Pensylvania campus. (They said they hadn’t seen Temple’s.) Valerie said she liked that Philadelphia was a small city. She said that her least favorite thing was that Philadelphia was a small city, and Joe recognized that their were pros and cons to the city’s size. Valarie added that she thought Philadelphia was “kinda ghetto.”

Unfortunately, my tape recorder seems to have skipped this couple. His name is George and her name began with a Z, and it was something I could never hope to repeat or spell from memory. He did all of talking for them both.

Michael said they were visiting for the day from Bristol, Pennsylvania. She declined to give her name. Michael said his favorite thing about Philadelphia was the Eagles, and that his least favorite thing was the crime.

Julien and Maria are visiting Philadelphia for three days. They are originally from France but now live in Washington, D.C. They said their favorite thing about our town was the Old City and all of the “history stuff.” Their “least favorite stuff” is the weather, and how “freaking cold” it is.

Steve and Tasho are visiting Philadelphia from Grand Rapids, Michigan for four days. When asked what their favorite thing about Philadelphia was, Tasho wryly replied, “The one way streets.” Steve said his favorite thing about Philadelphia was the history, and his least favorite thing was the one way streets.

Caroline and Chris have lived in Philadelphia for three years. Chris said his favorite thing about Philadelphia was the restaurants, and Caroline agreed. Chris said his least favorite thing about Philadelphia was the traffic signals, and “how inefficient their timing is.” Chris also thought that the city didn’t have enough trash cans on street corners. When asked what her least favorite thing was, Caroline said “I’m going to stick with his.”

Steve and Dawny are visiting from North Field, Minnesota. Dawny did all of the talking for them both. Dawny said they’d been in the city for “about an hour,” and that her husband Steve had a week-long work assignment in Philadelphia. When asked what her favorite thing about Philadelphia was, Dawny said, “The fact that it’s warm” in comparison to Minnesota. She said her least favorite thing was “It’s too late in the day to do anything” since they just got in.

Winning the award for largest difference in height, Roy and Liz both go to St. Joseph’s University. Liz said she was originally from New York City. Roy said his favorite thing about Philadelphia was all of the sports complexes along Madison Avenue, and he said he tries to go to basketball and baseball games often. Liz said her favorite thing about Philadelphia was the history, and she added that she “loves doing the tourist-y thing.” Roy said his least favorite thing about Philadelphia was the “hectic” public transportation; he said that “Septa was twenty minutes late, and then we got on the wrong side of the subway coming to Old City.” Liz agreed; she said she was used to really fast subway stations, and that “having to wait a long time means you have to plan it out ahead of time.”

Jeremy and Jessie are they were visiting from Brooklyn. Jessie said they were in town because Jeremy had a performance yesterday, and that they were leaving today. They both said they had been to Philadelphia once before; Jeremy said he’d actually been to the city a couple of times “for work, but only once for fun before.” They took a moment to think about their favorite and least favorite things because someone else from class had already asked them, and they wanted to come up with something different. Jessie said her favorite thing was “historical… stuff.” Jeremy said his favorite thing was the “breakfast at Morning Glory,” located at Fitzwater and Tenth. Jessie said they had “big bread-y things and fresh-fruit pancakes.” Jeremy said their least favorite thing was that it was “just too cold today.”

J.P. and Laura said they both moved here relatively recently; Laura has been here since the summer and J.P. has been here a year. Laura said her favorite thing about Philadelphia was “the culture and history behind the city.” J.P. said his favorite thing was the food, and that their favorite restaurants are Sabrina’s and Sushi Planet. J.P. said his least favorite thing about Philadelphia was the poverty. Laura said she had no least favorite thing. When pressed, she added, “I haven’t found it yet, if I do have a least favorite thing.”

Gordon and Gwen both live outside of the city, and seemed hurried. They said they were in town for the car show. Gwen said her favorite thing about Philadelphia was the restaurants. Gordon said their least favorite thing about the city was the traffic, and driving.





Philadelphia, Past and Present: Rittenhouse Square

26 01 2010

For my “Philadelphia: Past and Present” project I chose to focus on Rittenhouse Square. All of the original images I used are courtesy of PhillyHistory.org and most of them are from 1900; the latest image I used is 1936.

I thought this project would be easier because it would require less travel, but I still found it quite difficult because of how much things had changed. The visual cues and landmarks between then and now are COMPLETELY different, and many images required repeated attempts to get the angle as close to the original as possible.

For the first batch of images, I compared the corner of 18th & Walnut from different angles.

Here’s the southeast corner, 1900 vs. today:

It’s a whole other world.

Comparatively, the northwest corner is (relatively) unchanged and retains the original building:

As we move down Walnut, this house and horse of 1900 change:

Across the street, we begin to see signs of the original architecture being altered but maintained, in this image of the Wellington Apartments taken in 1935:

These buildings, viewed from the park, in 1926:

Around the corner on 18th & Walnut is the Holy Trinity Church, once the site of William Frazier in 1900. It’s difficult to tell if the church is still the original building.

The very nature of the roads around Rittenhouse Square has changed; looking south down 19th street, from 1936 to today, we see the roads have changed from brick to cracked asphalt:


This apartment complex, still undergoing construction in 1926, looks similar today. (Unfortunately for the view, the trees of Rittenhouse Square have undergone considerable growth.)

Here, we see that this Penn Apartment complex in 1931, looks similar today. (This shot proved to be the most difficult to replicate; I think I need either a tilt-shift lens or a wider angle.)

This picture of the residential address 1909 Spruce St, a few blocks south of Rittenhouse Square and taken in 1930, also looks relatively similar today, with the key differences being a few more handrails and a few less Ford Model-T’s:





Hello world!

20 01 2010

This is my new photography blog which will be used, primarily, to highlight my course work for Temple University. I’m enrolled in four photography classes this semester, but this blog will be mainly for Documentary Photography.