Photography and Text by Casey Egner, Copyright 2016
This series of photographs documents an exploration of the streets of Philadelphia, largely shot in the Rittenhouse neighborhood it is a collection of moments found through a practice of flanerie. Using the idea of street ornament as a guide, I tried to focus on unique moments of intrigue and interest created either through an oddity in architecture or form. Walter Benjamin described the flanuer as a modern urban spectator. Here I am using the strategies of the flanuer to record discrete moments in the urban environment. Susan Sontag wrote in On Photography “The photographer is an armed version of the solitary walker reconnoitering, stalking, cruising the urban inferno, the voyeuristic stroller who discovers the city as a landscape of voluptuous extremes… The flâneur is not attracted to the city’s official realities but to its dark seamy corners, the neglected populations—an unofficial reality behind the façade of bourgeois life that the photographer ‘apprehends,’ as a detective apprehends a criminal.” 1973.
Somewhat separated from Sontag’s definition of flare as she discusses more of a documentary photography with the individual in mind, this project will exist as an ongoing series of walks taken through different neighborhoods in which I focus on peculiar moments in architecture and ornament within the city. Each walk will be taken with no destination in mind but only as a spectator, observing, sauntering, and strolling through the city.
About The Author: Casey Egner is a graduate student enrolled in the Master of Fine Arts, University of Pennsylvania.