Saturday, January 24, 2009

Philadelphia Past & Present

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For my first photo assignment I have to locate 10 photos from Philadelphia's past. The original 10 photographs are at least 60 years old; I decided to focus on Philly's beautiful Old City. After some complications in the equipment room, I was finally able to rent a Nikon D40 and I began shooting o
n Friday around 4pm. I raced down to Chestnut st only to realize the meters in Old City only accept quarters. I questioned a man standing in a doorway but his hands emerged empty from his pockets. I ran around the corner to a dry cleaner, after spilling my story the tailor changed my $5 but only gave me one dollar in quarters! A quarter only buys you 8 minutes on Front and Chestnut.
While I was getting my papers in order and preparing to hunt for my first site, I saw a man who seemed lost or in search of something.I was not any help to him, but after we started talking about my agenda
I must have mentioned my parking meter situation. The next thing I knew this new friend was offering to feed the meter for me.
It is refreshing to meet friendly strangers in such a large and usually grumpy city. After Juan filled the parking meter we started talking. Juan recognized the name of my hometown, Shamokin, I was shocked and happy. I love meeting new people and Juan really made my Friday. I encourage everyone to spark up conversation if the opportunity arises.
One thing I mentioned to him was The Oxford Project. The pictures fir
st grabbed my attention, but I really enjoyed reading everyone's story that accompanied their pictures. Go get lost in the small town of Oxford.

Back to the assignment...
I shot Chestnut and Market streets on Friday from 4 until sundown. Saturday I woke up at 2pm and did exactly the same thing on Walnut street. I like the cool feeling of all the photos, I wanted the focus to be the buildings and landmarks. I don't want the distraction of color in the second set of photos. All the archives are black and white so I thought it would be interesting to focus on the present in the same way.

Top: Looking SW standing on the NE corner of Front and Chestnut streets.
-Unknown, 1843.
Bottom: -Schu, 2009.

Top: Looking West from Third and Chestnut streets.
-Newell, 1885
Bottom: -Schu, 2009.
Top: Carpenter's Hall, Southside of Chestnut, below Fourth street.
-Richards, 1855.
Bottom: -Schu, 2009.

Top: Philadelphia Bank, Fourth and Chestnut streets.
-Unknown, 1859.
Bottom: -Schu, 2009.

Top: R. Smith's Brewery, Fifth & Market streets
-Richards, 1859.
Bottom: -Schu, 2009.

Top: London Coffee House, SW corner of Front and Market, standing on the NE corner.
-James E.
Bottom: -Schu, 2009.

Top: Also Front, a few steps north of Market looking at the NW corner and south side of Market.
-Richars & Betts, 1859
Bottom: -Schu, 2009.

Top: The Exchange Building, looking NE from Walnut and Dock St.
-Boyd, 1915.

Bottom: -Schu, 2009.

Top: The Irwin Building, Looking at SW corner of Fourth and Walnut from the NE corner.
-Hess, 1931
Bottom: -Schu, January 2009

Top: South side of Third and Walnut streets.
-Rolston, 1915.
Bottom: I wasn't really pleased with this one, the parked car doesn't do much for the photo either.
-Schu, 2009.

Lastly, a photo that caught my eye.
I like the clouds and the deserted street, the only residents are a bike and a mac truck.

300 Walnut street, photographer unknown, 1971

I now realize I have spent the last 3.5 hours sitting at this computer. My back and eyes hurt, I never knew posting was so time consuming. It is 4am *Goodnight!


  1. Wow! I really like your photos and the old photos of Philadelphia. It'd be fun if you did the same type of project with old photos of Mount Carmel and Shamokin. I really like the Oxford project - I never heard of it before. I think there's so much material in Shamokin and Mount Carmel that they'd be great subjects for projects like that! xoxo

  2. lookin good kid, your photos are sweet, esp the last one with the almost deserted street. baller. keep it

  3. I clicked on "comments" because I wanted to note that I thought it would be a really interesting project to do in Shamokin or Mt. Carmel, but Kate beat me to the chase.

    George grew up in the city and is a history buff (read: geek) so he especially enjoyed exploring this post.