Exhibit shows photos capturing the region on the same day
STORY WRITTEN BY TARA LYNN JOHNSON
For Digital First Media
On Friday, Oct. 9, more than 1,400 people participated in Greater Philly Photo Day. Now, every one of their submitted photos is displayed in the “Greater Philly Photo Day Exhibition” at the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center.
Cathy Altman of Lower Gwynedd photographed the Schuylkill River along Kelly Drive.
“It seemed like the perfect place to take photos and it was such a nice day,” she said in a telephone interview.
The photographers, representing various ages, backgrounds and skill levels, captured scenes in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware for the event. The Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, which started the event in 2010, will display 1,412 photos that were taken during the “day-long celebration of our collective creativity” through Jan. 2.
Altman, a PPAC board member, participated because she wanted to push herself.
“I’m not necessarily an artistic person,” she said, “but I thought ‘I can be creative. I can use this part of my brain.’”
She took her submission with her iPhone this year, unlike last year when she used a digital camera. The ease of using her smartphone makes her want to take more photos. She hopes that people who participated will feel the same way.
“From someone like me who’s so not artistic to wonderful photographers — Philly Photo Day leveled the playing field,” she said.
And photos are so much a part of our lives, she said.
“It’s visual art. Everyone’s taking photos with their cameras and phones. That’s how we communicate.”
And taking pictures on the same day as thousands of others “makes you feel you’re a part of this community, which is heartwarming,” she said.
Sarah Stolfa, PPAC’s founder and executive director, helped to create the idea, hence the community. She loves the variety of the scenes and items in the photos, as well as the varied composition and other aspects of the submissions. There are always a lot of skyline, historic building and bridge photos, but this year saw a lot of pets and babies, doors, flowers, houses, sculptures, landscapes, buses and food.
“It’s a wide range,” she said.
There were so many submissions this year that they had to build an extra wall in their exhibit space. She thinks people will enjoy seeing their region through the eyes of others.
“It’s always a fun show,” she said. “You never know what you’re going to see. And it’s inspiring. The thing I love about photography — you can give people a camera, have them take more than 1,400 photos on the same day and not one photo will look like the others.”
Altman always looks forward to the exhibit, too.
“I love to see what other people have done,” she said. “When you see them all together and you see all these different views of Philly, it’s just a warm, uplifting, positive feeling.”