Monday, June 29, 2009

Hope in Kensington - The Last Stop Recovery Program

  In the heart of Kensington, one can find drug addicts under the "L" but one can also find the birthing of possibility and new beginnings. One man is putting everything on the line for exactly that.  Ed Zapetelli, a former drug addict himself, has taken his life savings and is in the process of refurbishing abandoned buildings in order to provide both shelter and AA support to others struggling with addictions. He calls these buildings, "The Last Stop."
 "In order to keep sobriety, you need to give it away." 
"Eddie Z" as he is known in the neighborhood is doing much of the work himself.  Throughout the gutted buildings, inspirational messages and pictures help him continue on.
 "We have a long way to go but at least people don't have to sleep on the streets."

John was an addict who lived on the streets for 15 years. 
 "I was the guy you would see on the corner with the big, bushy beard and was rancid until Eddie Z found me on the rail tracks when I lost all hope."
"I wasn't easy at all but Eddie stuck with me."
John is now in charge of running the Last Stop Clubhouse and has been sober for 4 years.
"There is hope!"

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Crepe as an Art Form

 In the heart of University City at 33rd and Market, there is one unassuming street vendor whose creativity and resilience knows no bounds. Mr. Chojnacki is a gifted artist.  His sculptures can be found in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian but unfortunately, the down turn in the economy has taken a toll on many artists.  Drawing upon his days in Europe, growing up eating delicious crepes, Chojnacki turned to creating another type of art...and his crepes are just that! I thoroughly enjoyed watching his precision in forming the crepe and being so thoughtful with each and every item placed inside.  He has quite a variety to satisfy the hunger pangs of those wishing breakfast or lunch.  For those just looking for something sweet, he has enough fruit and chocolate and whipped cream to hit the spot. If you are lucky enough to go enjoy the conversation and savor another form of art!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Moment of Zen

Even though I live in the city, I attempted to transform my small backyard  into a space filled with plants and a's my moment of zen! (believe me, after doing all the digging for the pond, I needed that moment!).  I went out today with a camera and book.  The first photo would be called, "Imitation"  (I think Buddha has the right idea while the robin is still a bit too uptight) and the second would be "Merging" where flow and reflection create that gentle mood.

I also just bought David duChemin's newest book entitled, "Within The Frame:  The Journey of Photographic Vision."  I was mesmerized by his photography in capturing the vibrancy, texture and character of many cultures.  As Joe McNally states in the Foreword, "it is like a great photograph, once you view it and let it filter into your eyes, your head and your heart, you will never be the same."

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Las Vegas, Nevada - View from the Street

Las Vegas, Nevada

In the center of Las Vegas Blvd. sits the Flamingo Hotel where the conference was held.  The lush greenery, wild life and many waterfalls created that "moment of zen"!

Las Vegas, Nevada

     I spent the past week in Las Vegas at the National Press Photographer's Conference. Pulitzer prize winning photographers and many others recognized for their impressive work in visual storytelling shared their insights and talents. I "sat at their feet" trying to learn all they had to offer! After the conference on the first night, several of us decided to take a short 45 min. drive from town, passed the desert to Lake Mead for a dinner cruise on the Desert Princess. The colors became more and more vibrant as the sun set.  I kept jumping up from the table (which was very difficult to do because my prime rib was delicious!) to go and photograph.  The crew and the captain could not have been nicer - even letting me photograph from the "command center". There were two couples from England, the Crooks and the Barbers, who renewed their vows after 40 years of marriage. Their enjoyment was contagious and good fun was had by all! After we docked, we drove a short 5 minutes to see the Hoover Dam all lit up.  There is a feeling of such awe looking out onto this marvel of engineering.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Boathouse Row

Last night the weather was perfect and the moon was full.  It was a perfect June night to be down by the river at Boathouse Row.  There is a spot on the West River Drive directly across from the boathouses that provides the opportunity to pull off the road and take pictures.  I was there a little after dusk when the night begins to darken and the lights begin to glow.  A perfect time to capture the colors and the mood of an easy June weekend.

Bryn Athyn Cathedral

This weekend was so beautiful and even though things are really busy right now (which is all a good thing!) I decided to go out and shoot for a bit.  In the mail, I received a flyer on Bryn Athyn Cathedral Sacred Arts - "Painting with Light"- creating medieval stained glass art as well as "The Emerging Vessel" - handbuilding and throwing pottery.  So I thought this would be the perfect new spot to explore.  Upon entering the grounds, I felt like I was back in England with the majestic cathedral spires and the absolutely beautiful, pristine gardens.  It is truly a place of peace and tranquility with the unspoken invitation to people to just come, relax and be a part of this serenity for a time.  The website provides very informative and interesting information on the history and symbolism, architecture ("there are no right angles or straight lines in the cathedral"), museum and the many programs offered integrating art and spirituality...a fascinating and beautiful spot right outside of Philadelphia.