Stories of different people have proven to be the most interesting and truthful reflection of the society that we live in. As we comfortably snuggle under our sheets, beneath our, perhaps, small yet safe roof; there are people in the world struggling still under the financial collapse during 2008.
The city of Kensington, Philadelphia was the state’s strong working-class neighborhood. As the nation’s leader in the textile industry, the multicultural society suffered from high unemployment during the industrial restructuring which happened during the mid of the 20th century. Between 2008 to 2014, Philadelphia-based photographer Jeffrey Stockbridge decided to record the stories of Kensington’s remaining citizens, in which the community’s drug abuse and prostitution situation are revealed.
“The focus of my work is portraiture… I am interested in how people survive the neighborhood and themselves. I ask residents to share their stories and I record the audio or have them write in my journal. The goal of my work is to enable people to relate to one-another in a fundamentally human way, despite any commonly perceived differences. I rely on the trust and sincerity of those I photograph to help me in this process.” Stockbridge said.
His insightful records consisting of large format color photographs (shot with a 4×5 film camera) and “125 8×10 inch photographs, audio recordings, and written transcripts of interviews he conducted with his subjects” are compiled in his book, Kensington Blues. Apart from being rich photographs, his works also “provides a timely and insightful look into the causes and effects of addiction bolstered by the intimate first person narratives of his subjects.”