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Life among the ruins…

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I’ve been overwhelmed in recent months with a variety of photographic pursuits–all of them interesting, exciting, and some involving new skills and adventures–so my blog has been a tad quiet, comparatively speaking. But with the new year upon us now, I am refreshed and ready to get back on track. To inaugurate 2014, I have been dipped back into a wealth of images that I created earlier this year during a visit to Philadelphia.

For many people, both in the U.S. and worldwide, Philly conjures up such things as the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and other iconic Americana. And yes, that’s all there. But artistically speaking, there is so much more. This image is one of my favorites from a series shot at Eastern State Penitentiary. Yes, an abandoned federal prison, with a history as rich with stories and flavor as any you’ll find in the U.S. criminal justice system. Al Capone made his residence here, along with a thousands of others from its inception as a model prison in 1829 to the day it’s doors were finally closed in 1971. It’s an eerie place, to be sure–all cells have sat untouched for the last four decades, the ghosts of those inhabitants somehow still inside. This photo is taken inside the front central wall of the prison yard and to me, is a testament of the idea that life goes on; this small tree, somehow rooting and taking a foothold at the very top of the wall, where it can breathe in life on the other side.

The photograph below, shows the same wall from a slightly different perspective. In color, one can truly see the vestiges of life, moss, weeds, and the little tree, ekeing out existence among the ruins. One can only hope a few of the previous residents at Eastern State, were as lucky. Hope you enjoy…

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