Independent documentary projects covering longer-term stories.
60 imagesProm is one of the most anticipated aspects of the American high school experience. As teens don evening wear and step into their limos, you can almost catch a glimpse of children becoming adults. Pretty in Pink, Footloose, 10 Things I Hate About You and countless other pop-culture references over the decades have taught us just how important this moment is. But what happens if prom isn’t an option to you? What if you may never even live to see that day? I volunteered to photograph the prom at St. Christopher’s hospital in North Philadelphia from 2012-2015. Each year, I would watch as children grew older, some got healthier and sadly, some were no longer with us. To these children (some barely even toddlers) and their parents, prom isn’t just another milestone. It’s a brief chance to forget treatment and illness, and just be kids.
33 imagesHigh school and middle school birding teams from the Upper Main Line YMCA compete each year in the World Series of Birding, a 24-hour birding competition with the entire state of New Jersey as the field. For several years, I helped these teams as a driver for the event, capturing images along the way. New Jersey's varied environments, from rocky forests in the north to marshy wetlands in the south, serve as a backdrop as these young birders travel night and day to identify as many birds as possible.
18 imagesThe 2016 US election cycle was one hell of a ride. From one scandal to scandal, and tweet after excruciating tweet, it was nothing like anyone could have expected. The general election saw bitter fights in several key battleground states, not the least of which was Pennsylvania. With its large, urban populations in the 5th and 22nd largest cities in the US, and expansive rural areas in between, Pennsylvania has always been a mix of red and blue. After her nomination at the Democratic National Convention in July, I began to follow Hillary Clinton as she attempted to bridge two populations. In the end, it proved to not be enough. Still, her campaign as the first woman to receive a nomination from a major political party in the craziest election year in recent memory was something to witness.
14 imagesIt had already been raining for hours as we pulled through the long drive up to the prison. The grass had become swampy and the concrete was coated in a silvery reflection of the world around it. The towering, dark walls of the old prison in my rear-view mirror provided a stark contrast to SCI Phoenix's light frame in front of us. A writer from Billy Penn and I arrived in Collegeville, Pa. as part of a media tour to see the new state-of-the-art prison, SCI Phoenix, an hour outside of Philadelphia. The new complex was built to replace the aging Graterford Prison, which saw its population reach as high as 130 percent capacity over the last ten years. Originally slated to open by the end of 2015, a number of setbacks delayed it's progress through 2018. The new facility was designed to improve the quality of life of inmates through better infrastructure, additional programs and increased safety precautions. Still, it's striking to walk through its empty halls, knowing that this will be the destination for thousands of inmates for years to come. I saw where guards will oversee their charges and where people of different faiths will come to pray. I walked through the tight spaces where some will find their only time outdoors and the loading docks where others will find work. At the end of the day, I was still able to go home. This is a portrait of a prison.