Local photographers showcase variety of work

By Lauren Sliva
October 8, 2009

Shannon Keough

Philadelphia now has a new venue to show off local photographic art. The Crane building, a former warehouse, is now home to the Philadelphia Photo Art Center (PPAC).

The Philadelphia Photo Art Center is a non-profit organization created to promote art within the city. A new exhibit, Next: Emerging Philadelphia Photographers, displays 36 different works from 21 different local artists. The artist range from experienced undergraduates and graduates to self-taught photographers and hobbyists.

“It’s a new exhibit, so I didn’t know what to expect,” Matt Browning, worker in the Crane building, said. “But what I see, I like so far.”

All the works in the exhibit were chosen by Ariel Shanberg, executive director of the Center of Photography at Woodstock. A call by the PPAC was sent out for local artists to send in their work to be shown in the exhibit. The photos were then sent to Shanberg, who picked out what images he felt were the most compelling. Shanberg chose the photos without seeing any of the photographers’ background.

“He chose the photos blindly, picking what photographs he was drawn to the most,” Tommy Reynolds, assistant director of PPAC, said. “He didn’t look at any of the photographers’ resumes, date-of-births, sex or experience.”

“The photos are really cool,” Alison Dwyers, sophomore psychology major, said. “There were all sorts of different objects, like an old woman, a guy in a shower or a car with all its lights on. The pictures all had something different but it all worked together.”

The photos range from different methods of photography: silver screening image, or dark room developed, to digital, to a print on rice paper.

“It’s nice to see what’s new and what new artists are coming up with,” Browning said. “It can be inspiring.”

The PPAC doesn’t just show photographs. The organization also provides a small but rich library. It houses top-of-the line photo printers and offers workshops for people to take. The workshops are for students from various levels, beginner, teen or advanced. According to the PPAC Web site, the PPAC “is devoted to the study, practice and appreciation of photography.”

“I liked how there were little sign-up sheets and flyers available,” Dwyers said, “not only in the photo center but in all of the different exhibits.”

The Crane building, originally the old Crane plumbing warehouse, has other organizations, which promote different artwork, film, painting, sculpture, including Nexus, InLiquid, Claymobile and Gallery 201.

“It’s a space to experiment and develop and work off other artists,” Damon Reaves, volunteer director of Nexus, said.

Located on American Street, the PPAC and all the other organization welcome everyone to come and see what artists in Philadelphia have created.

The exhibit is up until Nov. 29. American Street is in the Girard Avenue section of Philadelphia near Northern Liberties.

“This building is an artist community,” Nick Cassaway, executive director of Nexus, said. “It’s a destination for people to come see art work.”

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Lauren Sliva

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