I hadn’t planned to interrupt my PPOTR coverage, but when something this important arises then to hell with convention.

You may be familiar with the name Jeffrey Stockbridge, and you’re probably well aware of his Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize shortlisted double-portrait of Tic Tac and Tootise.

Stockbridge has been photographing in Philadelphia for years with a focus on the Kensington Avenue neighbourhood, which Stockbridge describes:

Kensington Avenue is a hot spot for drugs and prostitution located in North Philadelphia. Populated by cheap bars, pawnshops, and check cashing businesses, the Avenue is also the major business corridor in the neighborhood.

Kensington Blues is not just another dip-your-toe-in-poverty photo project; Stockbridge has spent considerable time befriending many of his subjects. He gives them dignity, and with his designated website Kensington Blues, Stockbridge – through audio and transcription – gives each subject a voice.

I am quickly coming to value any photographer’s approach that, above all else, connects the subject to the photographer … and thus the subject to ourselves. Stockbridge’s Kensington Blues pays that attention to human connection.

BIOGRAPHY

Jeffrey Stockbridge is a photographer based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 2005, he placed runner up in the New York Times Magazine “Capture the Times” college photography contest. Stockbridge is well known for his projects documenting drugs, prostitution and urban blight in Philadelphia for which he has received several grants and awards. Stockbridge is a recipient of a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Grant, Independence Foundation Fellowship in the Arts Grant and a Center For Emerging Visual Artists Fellowship. His work has been widely exhibited nationally and internationally. Selected exhibitions include The National Portrait Gallery in London, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Fleisher Art Memorial, The Delaware Art Museum, The Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts and J. Cacciola Gallery. Stockbridge was recently awarded 3rd Prize in the 2010 Taylor-Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize at The National Portrait Gallery in London. Upcoming exhibitions include Galerie Huit Photography Open Salon 2011 in Arles, France and a solo exhibition of Stockbridge’s work is scheduled for July 2011 at The Wapping Project Bankside in London. (Source)

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