Philadelphia: One City, Two Worlds
First Edition Copyright ÂŠ 2011 by Caitlin Morris All Rights Reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form. Printed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA www.caitlinabroad.com
Originally, the idea for this book was to try and capture the rift between the rich and poor in Philadelphia. Since moving here about four years ago, that concept has been in the back of my mind. Divisions in this city run deep, and most noticeable to me are the economic gaps. About halfway through the project I realized the pictures I made weren’t just simple examples of ‘Wealth’ or ‘Poverty,’ they were of course much more than that. They are homes, neighborhoods and people; and they certainly don’t need any more labels stuck on them. I wanted to see Philadelphia’s two ruling classes juxtaposed against each other, but I think what I found at the end was more a portrait of Philadelphia than it was anything else. While it is true that I shot solely in neighborhoods where I sensed a clear absence of the middle-class, it is also true that there is no one recognized definition of the middleclass in terms of income. The term wealth is equally as hard to pin down, since it comprises a number of factors beyond assets and income. Material possessions, land and lifestyle are all things that should be considered when determining a human’s wealth. A substantial number of Philadelphia neighborhoods are drastically different from one another; at times they are worlds apart. On any given afternoon on 5th Street in Kensington, distressed-looking people are lined up outside the mental health clinic. Not five miles away, people sip lattes beside Rittenhouse Square considering where to dine or shop that evening. There have been times when I get into Center City after a few hours of shooting in the hollows of the city, and I wonder how we would perceive our society if we were merely visitors from another planet. I question if life under hierarchies has become outdated, and whether or not they still allow for stable and progressive social groups. I know there is no clear-cut answers to questions such as these, which in many ways, makes it that much more interesting and relevant to base discussions on. From my understanding, more of the world’s wealth is floated to the top with each passing year. And with each passing year the poor are getting poorer. How long will this trend continue before we start asking each other if hierarchies will continue to be viable, sustainable social organizations into the future? When Homo sapiens began emerging on the African savanna approximately 200,00 years ago, resources were abundant and hierarchies worked to unite groups of 30 to 80 humans. The hierarchy was an undeniably adaptive, supportable social organization in the beginning of human’s history, and it remains that way for many species. Hierarchies are present from the pecking order of chickens, to baboon troops, all the way up to human politics. Modern circumstances have left us in a changed world from 200,000 years ago. And now humans with genetic predispositions evolved for hunter-gatherer conditions and politics are being thrown into a world with 7-billion people and massive resource shortages. As you can probably see, working on a book that attempted to compare poverty and wealth did not answer many questions for me. In many ways it only provoked more questions, and caused me to consider things I hadn’t taken the time to think about before. Hopefully something in this book will make some one else think a little differently as well.
Content The People 6-25 The Streets 26-47 The Structures 48-67 5
Th e P e o p l e
Th e S t r e e t s 27
Th e S t r u c t u r e s 49