When you look at the neighborhood around you, do you wonder what it used to be?
Did it used to be busy, or was it quieter? Is it safer than it was or a tad seedier? What kind of people roamed the road and what kind of wheels rolled down your street? Do your views today make you long for the past or yearn for the future?
Old Philadelphia, courtesy of thingamababy.com
We took a stroll around a pretty neglected area of Philadelphia over the weekend. We had no real destination. My pictures fail to capture the atmosphere unfortunately. It’s something I’m learning to figure out as an amateur. I like to find the beauty in what “was”, and I like to dream about what used to inhabit the buildings and sidewalks that I walk.
When I see areas that are abandoned and half demolished, I wonder if the area is going through a transition to be rebuilt again or if the crumbling bricks are a true metaphor for the neighborhood. Time will tell.
I’m not foolish enough to think that the past was glamorous. Crime, corruption, drugs and heartlessness have always lurked in corners of every time period. There are still sights to be appreciated and customs that are appealing, particularly when we don’t know the pitfalls. The revolutionary buildings that I admire may not have seemed so beautiful with excrement being flung out the windows out into the alleys below.
There are times we can’t experience and life to be enjoyed today. Generations will pass on, scenery will continue to change and traditions will be altered. That is how time works and it always will.
An intersection that used to be busy
A seedy establishment that once was appealing
A wall that once touched two rowhomes
A train bridge that transported trains instead of weeds
Bicycle that ran on a shiney chain
Building that had four walls
Windows that kept the outside world out.
Brick that was mortared tight
A home that had electricity
A tower that supplied water
A warehouse that was plain
A skyline that had emcompassed only church steeples
How steps all over the city were made, polished and cleaned by their owners.
A professional photographer, I am not. Amateur? Maybe. When I took these? Not at all.
Four years ago, with our little Sony in my pocket, my husband and I shamelessly wandered and played in Independence Hall Park, adjacent to the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. We had just had dinner and perused the street artists and galleries that are open the first Friday of each month in Old City. I’d say we were feeling goofy rather than inspired, as we attempted to take pictures of us eating each other’s head.
Distort: misinterpret, falsify, fudge, misrelate, misrepresent, and slant
We did all of that, without any actual consideration of the camera but all in fun, and clearly without any legitimate idea of spatial perception. My credibility factor is drastically diminished with this post, but I’d be lying if I didn’t laugh hysterically when I look at the fifty or so pictures from that night. I’d also be lying if I said we never tried this again. We did get better at it, but those pictures aren’t nearly as fun.