A first photographic immersion into a country, a city, or a neighborhood is always problematic. I haven’t the temperament of a photojournalist and I don’t like feeling like a tourist. My desire is always to spend time, lots of time, and really start to let a place sink in. If I ever photograph a city like Paris, I’ll have to go and live there first.
My Philadelphia is much like William Penn’s; it ranges as far as I can walk on a good day. Occasionally, I enjoy the modern-day luxury, usually on the return home, furnished by the Market-Frankford Line or The Broad Street Subway. The Northeast is beyond my usual perimeter. Having occasion to be there a few weeks ago, I decided to make a day of it, riding to the end of the El and then walking around.
I was not prepared for the landscape. It was so spread out, so bleak and so uniform. I’m told it was developed en-mass after WWII and it certainly has a kind of cookie-cutter look. There was certainly an interesting mix of people and cultures there, but where was the evidence in the landscape? I puzzled over how I could ever capture it or what there really was to fix on film. Off the beaten path and in back of what seemed like an endless strip-mall sprawl, I shot this one, solitary frame.
Film: Tri-X 120 rated at ISO 200
Exposure: by guess, approx. f8 @125
Developer: HC110 1:49, 6.5 min (-20%, 1 stop) at 68F 30 seconds initial agitation,
two inversions every 30 seconds thereafter.
Scan: Epson V500
Etsy Store! I now have a selection of hand-proofed archival prints, including this one, up for sale. They range from inexpensive postcard sizes up to very reasonably priced 12 x 16's.
I will be adding more in the coming weeks.