I finally

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got a chance to see this year’s Philly Photo Day exhibit, while I was on vacation last week. One of the things that struck me about this year’s photos is how it seemed like there were more selfies than usual-and many of those were processed through some app or photo distorting software. I’m not a big selfie taker, as you are no doubt aware, but I was inspired to take one in the restroom of the Crane Arts building, as you can see above.

One of the other things that I noticed is that this seemed to be the year that activists finally figured out how to use Philly Photo Day to raise the profile of their issue–both the PFT (or maybe the Caucus of Working Educators?) had clearly arranged for members to take group photos, with red t-shirts and signs–and a group that I couldn’t clearly identify, who were targeting PNC Bank to stop funding¬†mountaintop removal mining (maybe the Sierra Club?). I actually found myself surprised that it seems like the activists figured out how to culture jam the day before any real advertisers did (although there were some mildly advertising-like shots from Impact Hub).

It’s always interesting to see the things that change in the city, from year to year. This year’s big addition was the newly-reopened Dilworth Plaza, and lots of shots of kids running through the fountains there. ¬†And I’m always amazed to see the thing that only happened that day that I missed but many other people saw–this year, that was a Ferris Wheel in Eakins Oval. It took me a couple of different angles on that to figure out where it was–for a while, I thought it had been someplace in South Philly–but eventually I worked it out.

I like seeing the notable stuff–but I don’t think there’s anything that I love more than the most pedestrian shots: a woman taking a photo of her boyfriend (brother?) changing his shirt, some kids riding bikes in the street, the nighttime shots of empty neighborhoods. It’s just a perfect way to capture one day’s worth of life in this great city.

 

~

The main thing that you learn from grief is that you might as well get over it, because it’s coming around the mountain again. It’s just going to come, and come, and come, and come, and when you go it’s somebody else’s problem.

~Jez Butterworth

“All or Nothing” Emma Brockes, New Yorker, November 10, 2014