My Philadelphia

Christopher Moraff

 

Omnis civitas corpus est. - St. Augustine

 

Every city is a living body.

 

This is certainly true of Philadelphia, my hometown. The beating heart of Center City – with its restaurants, high-fashion boutiques and tourist attractions – pumps life to the extremities: west to Mantua, north to Olney, south to Point Breeze, and along that massive artery the Delaware into Fishtown, which I presently call home. 

 

We are a city of neighborhoods – each with its own distinct heritage, demography, and architecture. We are an old city, a city of revolutionaries who told the British where they could stick it. We are New York's precocious cousin where you can still throw a rock without hitting someone, buy dinner and a drink for under $20, and get a Big Gulp should the mood strike. 

 

We are far from perfect. We are cranky and obstinate. We throw snowballs at Santa Claus. It's too hot in the summer and too cold in winter. Visitors are struck by the amount of trash that seems to accumulate everywhere; and there are parts of this town that could pass for Mogadishu on a bad day. 

 

But we Philadelphians take a certain pride in our perseverance. We know how difficult it can be to live here, and we like it that way. It keeps the outsiders away.  

 

I've spent most of my life in Philadelphia and the better part of a decade wandering its streets focusing my camera on anything and everything that wasn't fast enough to dodge my lens. Over the years, certain themes emerged – solitary buildings, open lots, the legs of a thousand anonymous walkers – that seemed to capture the city as I know it.  These photographs are but a small sampling of my Philadelphia.

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