October 26: Philly Photo Day returns

Philly, are you ready for your closeup?

Philly Photo Day, a project of the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, returns on Friday, October 26 for the third year running.

The idea is simple: Take a photograph anywhere within the city limits on October 26 and submit it electronically to Philadelphia Photo Arts Center (PPAC). Then on December 6, every single image submitted will be printed and hung in a group exhibition, forming a collective portrait of a day in the life of Philadelphia.

Last year more than 900 people snapped Philly’s portrait on Philly Photo Day, and this year turnout is expected to be more than double that number.

This year’s Philly Photo Day will be bigger and more inclusive than past years, thanks in large part to a $35,000 Knight Arts Challenge matching grant which has enabled PPAC to extend the event’s reach.

“We’re sending teaching artists to 40 community centers throughout the city with cameras to teach community members some of the basics of photography,” PPAC’s Executive Director Sarah Stolfa explained. PPAC bought 135 new cameras to use at the community workshops with a portion of the grant funds, and about 20 more were donated.

After a lesson in basics of digital photography and some pointers on composition, the artists will lead a photo walk, and then help participants select and submit pictures. Among the community partner sites [pdf]: Action AIDS (1216 Arch St and 2641 N. 6th), People’s Emergency Center (325 N. 39th St), Southwest Community Development Corporation (6328 Paschall Ave.), St. John’s Hospice (1221 Race St.), Max Myers Rec Center (1601 Hellerman St), Mighty Writers (1501 Christian St.), Free Library locations citywide, and more.

“We’ve done Philly Photo Day before, but we’ve never done it in this capacity,” Stolfa said. “It’s going to be a much broader spectrum of the city.” She hopes that because submissions will come from more areas of the city, created by people of more varied backgrounds and ages, the final exhibit – that collectively constructed portrait of the city – will be even more interesting.

Like Philly Photo Day itself, PPAC is sending pieces of the exhibit out into neighborhoods too.

PPAC will pick submissions from Philly Photo Day and display them on more than 200 SEPTA advertising spaces and 40 Clear Channel billboards citywide.  The idea is to set the photographs back out into the city from which they came as a kind of scattered-site, mobile extension of the exhibition. It’s also a fun way to reward participation.

As in the past, every image submitted for Philly Photo Day will be printed and hung as part of a group show at PPAC (Crane Arts, 1400 N. American Street). The opening will be on December 6.


Eyes on the Street will run a selection of fabulous images from Philly Photo Day in late November, so stay tuned.



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