This week, my photos are the cover story in Philadelphia Weekly! I’ve shot the cover for the paper before, but this time, my photos are the main story. Over the past year, I’ve gone out and photographed chefs, singers, protesters, kids, actors, homeless, naked people and filmmakers. Not everything I did made the paper, but everything I did taught me something about photography and the world I live in. Most especially, I’ve come to appreciate my own city so much, and all the little corners where brilliant people are making the world better, one cupcake, performance, or library at a time.
Last night I was asked by a friend what I would do if I got an art grant that gave me all the money I needed to do whatever I want. I told him I wouldn’t quit my day job, because I love what I do so much. Sure, I might create more elaborate photoshoots, I might travel more, I might not take a few side jobs, but I would show up to work at Philadelphia Weekly for every assignment. This is an education as sure as my years at college. Meeting people and getting to peek into their worlds has taught me so much.
I know I only cover a small piece of this world, but I’ve spent more time out and around Philadelphia this year than any year of my life. I have been told that optimism is a sign of naivete, but, for me, in my little corner of the universe, putting my boots to the pavement has made me love this world more than before. It is difficult to retain your pessimism when you see people handing out food to the homeless, when you meet a group of dancers who are teaching civil rights to kids, and when you hear the cheers at the pride parade. This year, I learned there is a traveling disco party for toddlers. I know that somewhere, in the world, a baby is dancing. The more I learn, the greater my hope is, for now, and the future.
Best of luck to all in this new year.
See the photos at Philadelphia Weekly: Year in Pictures
All photos by J.R. Blackwell