Category Archives: Architecture

Jesse Halpern: Porches of Philadelphia

Photography and Text by Jesse Halpern, Copyright 2018

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Porches of Philadelphia

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The spaces we occupy are a reflection of ourselves. For this project, I sought to capture snapshots of what people in different neighborhoods in Philadelphia chose to decorate their porches. The porch is very prevalent in Philadelphia residential architecture, and its function is really a transitional space from city to home. It reflects who the person is that inhabits that space to friends that visit and passersby. The different textures of these spaces embody the textures of the individuals who inhabit the spaces but also of the city itself. I photographed at night to showcase of the different elements of the porch the inhabitants wanted to showcase with night lighting.

I went to three separate neighborhoods, West Philadelphia, South Philadelphia, and Haddonfield, a suburb of Philadelphia. I separated my final portfolio by neighborhood. In these photos there are common threads through all three neighborhoods as well as differences that begin to emerge. I do want to continue this project and through the accumulation of more images from different neighborhoods, I think the similarities and differences between neighborhoods will become even more pronounced.

I approach theses spaces as a passerby would on a side walk. Too close to the building and walking quickly I would only really be able to take not of what’s in ample lighting and that’s usually only one object or a collection of object. The view I choose in each photo is dictated by the obstructing railing that I usually opt not to show and instead focus on what I can see behind it.

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About The Author: Jesse Halpern is a Sophomore enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2019. To access additional articles by Jesse Halpern, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/jesse-halpern-walled-2/

 

Also posted in Art, Documentary, Environment, History, Photography, Popular Culture, Student Life, UPenn

Noel Zheng: Untitled (“Bare”)

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An ongoing project by Noel Zheng, Copyright 2018

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Untitled (“Bare”)

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The specifications of this project was based around the idea of “sex sells” and “Erotica”. In response to this, I developed, more or less, a social project on what it means to be sexy and attractive in the 21st century.

The idea behind this project is to explore the interaction between the model and a white button up shirt, and how this article of clothing is used to accentuate or mask the body; this takes the model to the brink of what they are confident with. In any of the cases along the spectrum, the model will thus be confident and comfortable with how much or little they are showing. Therefore, this resonates the idea that skin or no skin can be equally sexy and attractive. At the project’s core, skin is just skin.

I interviewed each model during each photography session both to reap the safest and body positive environment, and to understand their confidence in their own skin. Some of the answers are as follows (responses provided by differing models):

What makes a man/ woman beautiful/ attractive to you?

Confidence, 100%. If someone is confident in themselves and shows this when they are around others, I think it makes them more attractive and more beautiful than any surface appearance.

Follow up question: do you feel beautiful/ attractive?

I think I’m beautiful. I don’t often think of myself as attractive.

When do you feel the proudest of who you are?

When I’m creating-in the kitchen, behind the camera, on a canvas, on paper and then when I’m looking at my finished creation. Also, when I see that I’ve made an impact on someone else, that’s definitely a very proud moment!

What three things do you value the most about your body?

I most value my body for what it is capable of. In terms of aesthetics, I value my abs, my lips and my butt, of course.

What three things do you value the most?

Money, food, and friends. In that order.

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About The Author: Noel Zheng is a Sophomore majoring in Architecture, University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2020. To access additional articles by Noel Zheng, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/noel-zheng-untitled-jolie-laide/

 

 

Also posted in Art, Blog, Current Events, Documentary, Erotica, Fashion, Glamour, Models, Nudes, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Student Life, UPenn Photography, Women

Jesse Halpern: Walled In

 

 

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Photography, Text and Video by Jesse Halpern, Copyright 2017

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WALLED IN

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Since the early 70’s presidents have been preaching about a war on crime. From Nixon through Bush, the victor in the election was the law and order candidate. This war being waged has had no effect on the violent crime rate in America yet our incarceration rates now towers above all other countries. Americans make up 5% of the people on earth, yet the United States houses 25% of the planet prisoners.

The transformation to the system we have today is really rooted in the complex I have photographed, Eastern State Penitentiary. It transformed punishment for crimes. We move away from corporal punishment, to a serving hard time. This was the model of the American Prison, a cruel system. If you were sent to Eastern State the only thing you ever saw was your cell, lit but a thin ceiling slit, and a small exercise quarter.

Racism in the courts and policing was rampant right from the start due to a clause in the 13th amendment which gave slaves freedom except if they were imprisoned.

Race was at the center of the push for the war on crime in the 70’s in retaliation to the Civil Rights Movement. The war on drugs in particular the war on Crack Cocaine was a war on African Americans. A sentence for 1 gram of Crack was the same as the sentence for 100 grams of cocaine.

Economics continues to be at the forefront in prison policy making with a boom in the private prison industry as well as contracts for public prisons being extremely lucrative. Corporations with these contracts and the corporations that own the correctional facilities benefit from incarceration, and lobby strongly to get laws enacted on their behalf.

With Obama we saw what looked like the end to the rhetoric of being tough on crime, and to the long line of Law and Order Presidents. Presidents who enacted due mandatory minimum sentences, sextupled the budget for the DEA, and militarized our police. But in the most recent election, Hilary Clinton, running as the candidate for criminal justice reform, and to end mandatory minimum loose to Trump, a self-proclaimed Law and Order candidate.

Over 5.8 million Americans cannot vote because they have been convicted of felonies. Over 2 million Americans are currently in Jail. The system, these jail structures, do little to curb the rate of violent crimes in America.

Reforms need to be made to this broken system. The Percentage of Americans incarcerated for violent crimes in 1970 is essentially what it is today, but the percentage of Americans behind bars for nonviolent crimes has increased by about 600%.

The dilapidated walls and cells of Eastern State represent the broken state of the American Prison Industrial complex.

The series was photographed in three segments. First, in direct light in the outdoor part of the complex. Second, with indirect natural light for the interior of the building. Third, with fill flash for the cells. Heavy noise was introduced in editing to give the whole series an archival feeling, an aged feeling. I wanted to capture something sturdy yet slowly unraveling which is what I believe to be the current state of the prison industrial complex. The final image is a reflection of the first photo of the prison walls. It is meant to inspire reflection about the cruelty of our criminal justice system, and of the architectural structures that house the largest population of incarcerated people in the world.

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About The Author: Jesse Halpern is a Sophomore enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2019. To access additional articles by Jesse Halpern, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/jesse-halpern-segmented-porches-display/

 

 

Also posted in Blog, Documentary, Environment, History, News, Photography, Politics, UPenn Photography, Video

Xiaonan Chen: Daydream

 

Photography and Text by Xiaonan Chen, Copyright 2017

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DAYDREAM

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It is a hot afternoon, no wind, no sound. What’s in her eyes is just the room painted by the golden sunshine. She grasps her straw hat, and the exotic metal earrings, and the cream-color mesh sweater covers on the black vest. She looks like she’s preparing for a trip, but no. It’s just a daydream.

She puts on the blood-red lipstick, which she never used. She is making up so carefully as she is watches her beautiful face from the mirror. She is just like going to a ball, but no. It’s just a daydream.

She wears her loose sweater with wide collar and long sleeves, and her long denim skirt with a diagonal cut. The yellow sweater contrasts the blue skirt so strong just like the sunshine and shadow. She plays hide and seek with herself, she gets lost in her world. It’s just a daydream.

She gets tired of the game, she takes on her white formal dress and the pair of round black sunglasses decorated with tiny diamonds. She still wears the lipstick but never see the mirror again. She looks outside from the window like some story is happening there. The golden fasteners on her pants sparkle under the strong sunshine. One of her shoulders exposes in the air but the other covered under the long sleeve. Just like two different parts of herself. She is mysterious, she is daydreaming.

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Portrait of Xiaonan Chen by Michael Heath, Copyright 2017

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Xiaonan Chen is enrolled in the graduate program in Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania.

Also posted in Blog, Contemporary Architecture, Current Events, Documentary, Environment, Fashion, Glamour, Models, Photography, Popular Culture, Student Life, Travel, UPenn Photography, Women

Jesse Halpern: Segmented Porches-What We Have on Display

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Photography, Text and Video by Jesse Halpern, Copyright 2017

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SEGMENTED PORCHES: WHAT WE HAVE ON DISPLAY

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In my still life series, I chose to focus on a time where everything seems still, night time in residential neighborhoods in Philadelphia. When walking at night, most porches have doors light and not much else light up. But a few have adequate porch lighting, but those that do capture the intense light and dark of the materials and textures of the objects that decorate their porches.

I tried in my series to find such moments of chiaroscuro to show different elements that create the gateways to our homes. I wanted to show the different textures of these objects but I wanted my series to be unified, almost as if all the images could have originated at the same porch. This is a deception. Every image in this series comes from a different home and from three different nights. In order to create this sense of false unity I chose to forgo color, as the light fixtures on these different porches had very different color balances.

I wanted to emphasize texture. I created intense plays of darks and lights to emphasize the chipping of wood, the rusting of metal, the embroidered patterns on a couch, The imperfect yet smooth texture of a pumpkin.

I also wanted to reflect the cold harshness of being outside on a fall night. Black and white helped heighten the starkness of the light fixtures.

In every photo I wanted to focus on a different object, but to still capture the texture of the porch it was on. By not overlapping like object the photos have the effect I want, as if I am documenting one porch, as if everything could occupy the same space. In order to do so I used a fixed 85 mm lens and shot from a medium to close distance from the object. I was very conscious to include some identifiable feature of a porch, and I shot with the smallest aperture opening, an f stop of 22, to ensure the elements I wanted to include were rendered as clear as possible to show their texture.

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About The Author: Jesse Halpern is a Sophomore enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2019. To access additional articles by Jesse Halpern, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/jesse-halpern-raw-emotions/

 

 

Also posted in Art, Blog, Documentary, Environment, Men, Photography, Popular Culture, UPenn, UPenn Photography