All posts tagged: Philadelphia

Philadelphia’s horsemen reclaim their heritage in Cian Oba-Smith’s shots

“It was also about reshaping that American icon: everyone thinks of the cowboy as this white American hero who has come to slay Native Americans. Actually the word cowboy is a racist term. It comes from when slave masters called all their slaves ‘boys’ and so the cow boy was the boy who looked after the cows and the horse boy was the boy who looked after the horses.” Cian Oba-Smith journeys to Philadelphia at a politically charged time during the 2016 U.S. election to meet with an infamous group of horsemen dealing with this ingrained racism on a daily basis.

2018-04-24T10:55:43+00:00

Good Sick – Jordan Baumgarten’s local vision of a national opioid crisis

When Jordan Baumgarten and his wife moved into the neighbourhood of Kensington in Philadelphia in 2013, they were shocked by what they saw – sex workers, dealers and drug use, all in plain view on the street, with almost no oversight from the police. Faced with these scenes daily on his doorstep, Baumgarten turned to his camera in an attempt to make sense of the area. “Photography forces an interaction and relationship with the world because it demands that you go to a certain place,” he says. Kensington is “a nexus for those in and around the city seeking heroin and all that it entails. It co-exists alongside everyday life in the neighbourhood and its surrounding landscape,” Baumgarten explains. But he adds that while this work focuses on Philadelphia, it addresses a much larger issue: “The city serves as a microcosm to discuss issues tearing apart the fabric of our social landscape.” Born in Philadelphia in 1983, Baumgarten stumbled across photography almost by accident after breaking his leg in 6th grade – keen to keep …

2018-04-04T13:41:36+00:00

Remembering Mary Ellen Mark

From the 1940s until perhaps the early 90s, an empathic documentation of everyday life appeared weekly or monthly in the world’s illustrated magazines, a medium whose appeal lay almost wholly in its use of outstanding photography, by great practitioners. It was a time, Mary Ellen Mark recalled, when “the magazines really needed photographers, especially documentary photographers. When they flourished you could bring an idea to a magazine and they would do it. Sadly that time is over”. Nonetheless, she worked on very successfully until the end of her life, combining documentary reportage with commercial assignments in fashion and advertising and portraiture. She was as adept in the studio as in the street, and as at ease with a Leica as she was with an ultra-large format studio camera. Faithful to film photography to the end, she never felt attracted to digital: “I’m staying with film, and with silver prints and no Photoshop …[that’s] the way I learned photography. You make your picture in the camera,” she said in 2008. Born in Elkins Park, near Philadelphia, …

2015-05-28T18:02:04+00:00

BJP Staff