If you ever get a chance to visit Eastern State Penitentiary, you won't be disappointed. Whether you're into penal history, art, urban decay or historic preservation projects, this Philadelphia landmark has everything. As they state on their website, "Bring a camera: And extra film. Eastern State may be the most photogenic place you see in years!" They're not kidding. I'm no photographer by any stretch but, with subject matter this rich, my amateur shots looked pretty cool.
Left: Barber Shop Chair, Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, PA
The self-guided audio tour is narrated by Steve Buscemi, and offers just enough detail to keep you informed but moving through at a steady pace. There are additional stops along the way where you can delve deeper with the audio component. Special tours are offered as well, though I'm not sure if these are a daily happening.
CITY Gallery's First Annual Juried Exhibit - Due 7/12/10
Open to artists 18 years of age or older working in oil, pastels, watercolor, glass, ceramic, sculpture, photography and mixed media. Full details
The District of Columbia Arts Center's 1460 Wall Mountables - Install 7/21/10
On Wednesday, July 21 DCAC will open its doors at 3pm, beginning a three-day installation process during which artists can purchase up to four 2' x 2' spaces at $15 each (max 4 spaces) to hang their work. Full details
Washington School of Photography Permanent Exhibit
DC-based architectural and industrial photographer Kelly Perl is a fellow artdc forum member, and I recently had a chance to learn more about her work. From her website: Interestingly enough, much of what I shoot is no longer in that form within a few months. I love how she's documenting the processes of both decay and building, sometimes in the same shot.
Q: What's the one thing you'd like people who aren't familiar with you/your work to know about you?
A: I am an architectural photographer, and I shoot parts of buildings or groups of buildings to find abstract compositions within them. In fact, I’d consider shooting only one building for my art a sort of plagiarism.
Q: Why photography?
A: I had a latent interest in photography when I was a kid, even had a friend whose parents had a darkroom, but my folks didn’t have much disposable income so I didn’t think about it seriously at the time.
One day in 1999, I was in Pittsburgh and saw railroad tracks, possibly abandoned, built against a small hill. I told myself if I ever came that way again, I’d have a decent camera and take pictures. I’ve never been there since but within a year I did have a 35mm film camera.
Q: Do you shoot intuitively, with a hardcore plan, or somewhere in between?
A: Somewhere in between. I shoot in the field so I have to have an idea where I’m going that day. I tend to spend a few weeks in a general area and then go somewhere else. Recently, I have been shooting up and down Rhode Island Avenue in the Gateway area and I’ll just go where my eyes want me to go. I often go back to places to reshoot, and my best picture will be something I haven’t planned at all.
I am an economist by profession and only started taking pictures in my mid-thirties. I have to be attuned to the nonverbal and nonmathematical and be willing to follow an impulse all the way to exhibiting something. I have works that I think are good and cannot tell you why. Fast Food Fortress #1 (above) is one of those.
Q: What are you thinking of working on next?
A: Unconventionally shaped work. Right now I have a triangular work that is the real art within a photo of a wall in Brentwood, Maryland. I also have a row of warehouses in DC that I’m trying to fit in triangular form.
Q: What do you feel is the best thing about being an artist in the DC area?
A: For a photographer, it’s that there are many people working different processes. I shoot 35mm digital and medium format film, in color. Even the medium format is conventional when there are photographers in the area who make tintypes, use a Holga for serious work, shoot large format pinhole, or play with emulsions.