Kensington Blues is a portrait photography project of the Philadelphia residents who live along Kensington Avenue in North Philly.
During the nineteenth century, Kensington was a strong working class neighborhood, a national leader of the textile industry and home to a diverse population of immigrants. Industrial restructuring of the mid 20th century lead to a sharp economic decline resulting in high unemployment and a significant population loss.
Today, Kensington Avenue is infamous for poverty, drug abuse, prostitution. Women– some as young as twenty, others who’ve been on and off the Ave for twenty years– populate the neighborhood in great numbers. Drugs such as Heroin, Crack and Xanax are sold out in the open. Addicts sell clean needles (known as works) for a dollar a piece– ten needles equals a bag of dope.
With the roaring El train overhead, Kensington Avenue is in a state of perpetual hustle. Working with a 4×5 camera, I deliberately chose a slow photographic process in order to slow down the rapid speed of life along the Ave. I am interested in how people survive the neighborhood and themselves. I ask residents to share their stories in the form of audio recordings or journal entries.
To hear the voices of those pictured, visit kensingtonblues.com.