Posted on April 22, 2015 by Allison Denenberg
As a Philadelphia native, sometimes I forget to appreciate the beauty of my hometown. When you walk past something all the time, if you’re too distracted by your own thoughts, or if you’re merely in a hurry, it’s easy to ignore your surroundings. However, by taking a purposeful stroll downtown with no intentions other than taking photographs, I realized just how much I have been missing.
When I walk around my neighborhood lost in thought, I might not pay any mind to the gorgeous Greek Revival style of the Merchants’ Exchange Building.
I may be too distracted to notice the artful arching of tree branches, or the beautiful shadows that they cast on the charming colonial houses.
The millions of thoughts buzzing in my head might drown out the quietude and serenity of the Old Pine Street Cemetery.
I might be in too big of a hurry to admire a cute family as they walk to school, or to chuckle at how the children’s backpacks are almost as big as they are.
In an effort to save time and reach my destination faster, I probably won’t take the scenic route down Elfreth’s Alley, and thus won’t notice the tree-lined passageway leading to a secret courtyard.
I may be too busy checking my phone, watching my step, or trying to avoid a rogue bicyclist to stop and glance up at a pretty church tower.
If it’s cold and I’m wandering around on a weekday, I likely won’t bother walking past Headhouse Square because the farmers’ market won’t be there.
But this time when I walked around downtown with my camera, I had no specific destination in mind, I had no major time constraints, and I forced myself to take a break from thinking about schoolwork and commitments. In focusing my lens, I also focused my attention, and for the first time in a long while, I was able to truly see Philadelphia and appreciate it for what it is.
Photography and Text by Allison Denenberg, Copyright 2015.
About the Author: Allison Denenberg is a senior enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2015.