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Jeffrey Stockbridge is a Philadelphia-based photographer that has completed mulit-year location specific projects documenting urban blight. Tell us about your project, Kensington Blues. I was photographing interiors of abandoned houses in Philadelphia and I met a woman who was selling sex for drugs. She told me about the Ave and I began visiting and making pictures of women who were working there to support their drug habits.
The project took many turns over the years and I collected material in many forms i. I started Kensington Blues the blog in order to make sense and organize the data I was collecting. The blog format is ideal for communicating multiple mediums. Once the past catches up to the present the project will be finished. Why did you decide to photograph people affected by addiction and poverty? Life to me seems more real in the ghetto.
I want to make pictures that hone in on the raw, brutal and beautiful. How do you get people to tell you their stories? I share photographs and stories and explain the motivations behind my work to everyone I photograph.
I get close and personal. I get in their business. What do you hope to accomplish by taking these photos? What is their purpose? I want to humanize those who have been de-humanized, the addicts and prostitutes on Kensington Ave and elsewhere in the world who are suffering and surviving at the same time.
I want to pay tribute to their struggle and offer a view that all is not lost, that hope does exist. Is there a person you have photographed whose story has affected you the most? For more stories, please visit his blog, Kensington Blues. Sarah and I were in the middle of making a photograph when we saw a young woman running down the Ave hysterically sobbing. Sarah yelled out to her by name but she ran right past us. Sarah reminded her that in fact they knew each other and had even been friendly in the past.