Michael Penn | The PHILADELPHIA Project

The Philadelphia Project is the result of countless journeys through the streets of Center City Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. My goal was to produce a vast body of work consisting of 1000 photographs in a three year time period. Relying mostly on compact point and shoot cameras, I walked the streets day and night – sometimes in marathon sessions – to capture people, places and objects that piqued my curiosity or evoked strong emotional responses.

For me the teddy bear in the alley, the broken car window, the pretty girl walking down the street and the dead man at the bus stop are equal in terms of the visual potential they hold. Blink and it can be gone as is evident in several captures that document the drastically changed urban landscape. I believe there is a simplistic nature to the high contrast images. Many of my photographs can leave the viewer, and me, with more questions than answers.

While a selection of 42 photographs cannot tell the entirety of my project – I'm happy to see that this exhibit conveys much of the story I've witnessed.

Michael Penn

Michael Penn

Michael Penn (b. 1969) is a self-taught photographer who focuses his camera on New York City and his current home of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 2006 he began to photograph bridges and landmark structures. The restraints of post 9/11 security regulations turned out to be a blessing in disguise – they led him to begin his journey as a street photographer. He soon realized that this form of photography is his true passion.

Michael's work (primarily black and white) is represented by The Print Center Gallery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The entire Philadelphia Project is currently being self-published in limited edition Xerox booklets.