Welcome to the streets of The City of Brotherly Love.
Philadelphia has long been regarded with that title, rooted in the name itself, which is Greek for brotherly love. Much like many cities in the world, what hides behind the depths of the streets is another world in itself. In North Philadelphia, you’re bound to stumble across Kensington Avenue, running three miles long through what is today a crime-ridden neighborhood of mishaps.
A 36-year-old photographer by the name of Jeffrey Stockbridge decided to embark on a photography series entitled Kensington Blues, which would depict the struggle and harsh reality that looms in these streets. Capturing a multitude of shots between 2008 and 2014, he captured the side of Philadelphia that many in the world are unaware of. The powerful images resemble the people and their struggle, each painting their own story.
“The goal of my work is to enable people to relate to one another in a fundamentally human way, despite any commonly perceived differences,” Stockbridge wrote in his artist’s statement for Landscape Stories. Through his work, these individuals have had a platform and an opportunity to voice their story, and reveal their truth. In doing so, this could be a reminder and prevention to those who may fall into the same hole one day.
The series of images and stories, which Stockbridge shared on his website kensingtonblues.com, show the harsh reality that is the everyday life for some of these people, in the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Jeffrey’s vision comes to life in these telling images of the dark times that envelop the dangerous avenue.
1. Mary. Pictured here, is a middle-aged, blank-expression woman who lives her life in the streets. To the photographer, she reveals that she doesn’t just do it for the drugs, but for food, clothes shopping, and other little things. She admits she once had a normal life, and that if she was approached to come back home, she would.
2. Pat And Rachel. In this photo, we see a couple holding each other closely together, with faint smirks on their faces. Together, they have children, whom they had to give up to a special agency to ensure their protection. Although people have told them that it was a selfish act, the mother, Rachel, admits it was the best thing they could do for their future.