Sunday, February 1, 2009

12 "strangers" at boathouse row & the art museum

For my second documentary assignment I had to go to the art museum area and chat it up with 12 strangers. At first I thought this assignment was going to resemble a long, slow death, but after I got started it wasn't so bad. I met some really awesome people on a sunny Domingo (Sunday in Portuguese). Here are the strangers' bios. Their pictures will be posted after I get my hands on a cord =-o.
I forgot my camera bag in Shamokin. I woke up this morning to my mom calling and leaving this message, "You idiot, you left your camera at home! Call me." Actually, I brought my camera, but left all my cords and charging devices at the house. I plan on asking some helpful/awesome/generous classmates ;)! We shall see..
I went to the art museum around noon with Katherine Albin and we started shooting strangers of all sorts. I generally asked the people I met the same few questions, but sometimes it turned to long conversations. I asked:
1. Do you live here?
2. What you love/hate about Philly?
3. Rate your day on a scale of 1-10
4. What is your favorite facial feature?
Then I asked them to hold the magnifying glass up to a chosen feature.

Stranger #1: Kenny

Kenny has lived in Philly all his life and he loves that there is an endless amount of things to do here. He does not like driving in Philadelphia and he is pissed that the Eagles aren't in the Super Bowl. I asked Kenny to rate his day from 1-10 and he responded with a big smile saying, "Today is a good day!"

Stranger #2: Henry

He has lived in Philadelphia for 53 years, he currently lives in Fishtown in an "old folks home on Frankford Avenue." He said he likes Philadelphia and thinks it is a nice place to live. He enjoys going to restaurants and movies. When asked what he hates about Philadelphia, Henry leaned into my recorder and said, "The politicians." And he is have a mediocre day..rating it at a 5.

I really enjoyed Henry, after talking with him more he revealed to me that the bench he was sitting on is dedicated to his deceased wife and mother. Henry purchased the bench and there is a plaque in memory of his loved ones. He often comes down on nice days to enjoy the water and think about his wife. Sunday (Feb 1st) was their anniversary. After I took pictures of Henry and his bench he told me I made his day :). I hope its now a ten instead of a five.

Stranger #3: Ruth

Ruth has lived in center city all her life and she works at the art museum. I asked if she hates anything about Philadelphia and she responded, "No, I don't think so, I think it has grown into a beautiful city and I think it has a friendliness that most cities don't possess." She loves old city because of the history and Society Hill because it’s the "cradle of Independence."

Stranger #4: TJ

TJ originally grew up in Philadelphia, but has just returned from Florida where he was stationed in the air force. He plans on going to the art institute to study photography; he was carrying a Nikon D60 when I ran into him. When asked what he loved, "People I guess." Is there anything that pisses you off, that you just cant stand? "Yeah, the people." TJ rated his day at an eight because of the beautiful weather.

Stranger #5 & #6: Laura & Gina
Laura has lived here for nine years.
"The thing I like about Philly is it’s sorta like New York in that you have all the city stuff, but it’s smaller so it feels like you see people you know on the street and the neighborhoods are friendly. Sort of the best of both worlds I think."
What pisses you off about Philadelphia? "A lot of people are just mean on the streets. I help people and it feels like you get alotta crap for trying to help."

Gina previously lived in Philadelphia for five years then moved to California and now she's back.
She's a social worker, so she made the move for her job. I asked her what she likes the best about Philly, "Well one of the things I missed the most from living in California was being able to walk places. Like Laura said, you can pretty much walk where ever you wanna go."
Laura added, "Yea, I haven't had a car in...eight years."

When asked what the girls hate about Philadelphia they both immediately laughed. I urged them to be honest and this is what Gina had to say, "Oh I'll be honest, the service professionals here really make me angry and for both of our jobs we have to be very accommodating to some people that we don't want to be accommodating to or even be around; so it makes me really angry when I'm paying someone for a service and they aren't doing the same"

Both the girls said they were having a 9 or 10 day because its beautiful and they're hanging out with friends.

Stranger #7: Bridget

Bridget recently moved here in July from Wisconsin. What do you enjoy most about the city? "Really my favorite thing is the grit, but how do you describe that? Um, oh I like the energy of Philadelphia, its unique." What pisses you off? "The Trolleys, I hate the trolley! They never come, or they're packed, or they kinda turn off...I dunno. The Trolley is the bain of my existence."
Bridget's good friend is visiting from Wisconsin so she is having a perfect 10 day!
When I asked whom she wanted to win the Super Bowl she said, "Oh Steelers! Come on!"
I really enjoyed Bridget, her attitude and her love for freckles put me in an equally good mood.

Brother #1: Jeff

I told Jeff about my forgotten luggage and he said he has a cord for his portable hard drive with the same connection. We checked the cord for my external hard drive and it fit! :)
Jeff has been living in Philadelphia for four years. He said he loves Utrecht art stores hates unbrotherly love. He is having a very enjoyable day, coming in at a seven.
Now back to strangers...

Stranger #8: Adam

Adam is originally from Rochester, New York and he now lives in Durham, North Carolina. Adam is just visiting, when asked what he likes about Philly, "I just got here last night, so I don't know."
Rating of his day: "Steady burn, five I guess."
Adam is stopping in Philadelphia before going to Israel tomorrow on a Birthright trip. The program allows young Jewish adults to travel to Israel for 10 days. Visit the site; you may get to visit Israel.

Stranger #9 & #10: Edward & VaughenaEdward
My new Brazilian friends

The two are visiting Philadelphia for the day; they are originally from Brazil and are currently in the United States to do research for their PhDs.
They have a collective love for Rocky.
Edward started by saying, "The main point here is, I am a Rocky, Slyvester Stallone fan. Since I was little, so I watch all the movies. I love Sylvester Stallone, his movies, so I am here."
I asked Vaughena what he enjoyed most, "I think the museum of art and the skyline; it’s a very beautiful city."
But quickly Edward cut him off, "Uh ok, No, nooo he is here probably because of Rocky too."
I asked what the boys dislike about their visit and Edward said, "We went to some strange neighborhood today looking for Rocky's house. We went to ah Somerset, Somerset station. Wow, its kind of tough, tough neighborhood."
Then Vaughena pulled out the map and I realized Somerset station was a few subway stops north of Berks, where I live. These two guys were wandering around in North Philadelphia all afternoon.
"We went to this neighborhood and uhhh, very ugly." -Vaughena
"So we went to Rocky's house, we took picture and we ran out, very, very fast." -Edward
Both the boys are having a perfect dime day :)

Stranger #11: Kevin

Kevin is a resident of Reading and he is just visiting Philadelphia for the day to hang out with a friend. He is enjoying the weather and so far nothing has annoyed him. He comes into the city often and his day was rated at a seven.

Stranger #12 & #13: Nivea & Kasiko

The pair moved here from New York and has lived in an apartment near Rittenhouse Square for two years. Nivea did most of the talking, she says they're loving Philly and she has no dislikes, "Cant think of anything no, we're loving it here. It's still a city but on a smaller scale, wonderful restaurants, the history is amazing here; when you're in society hill or here you feel like you can transport yourself there. There is everything here on a smaller scale than New York."
Kasiko doesn't like how the crime compares in Philadelphia, "One thing I don't like is the murder rate: here is very high compared to the other cities."
Nivea added, "I was never afraid in New York, sometimes I find myself a little hesitant here."
Nivea rated her day at a 15 because it is such an amazing day.

We'll end with a familiar face...


  1. I love your magnifying glass idea... it really made this a lot more interesting :)

  2. the photo of kevin is my favorite and how cool is that old guy you met, so sweet coming to his bench on his anniversary. you're doing great work, <3 the blog little one

  3. hello!! i have to agree with everyone - the magnifying glass was a great idea! you should just carry it around with your camera and if you end up talking to a stranger take their picture & document it! and i really liked that you had a great variety of people, really representing philly well:-) xo

  4. You're f'n brilliant, girl.