Vernacular Faith represents part of a larger ongoing project, Vernacular Places and Spaces, which seeks to document and express the significant economic, racial and cultural transformation of the Brewerytown and Strawberry Mansion neighborhoods of Philadelphia, PA, among others, found in the built environment. In an all-too-familiar narrative, long-time residents—many of whom are people of color—along with their institutions, businesses and life-ways are being displaced by the seemingly inexorable flow of real estate speculation and capital investment. Homes and businesses are being razed at breakneck speed as young professionals, students and others find the location near central Philadelphia and Fairmount Park desirable.
In this initial phase, I am striving to photograph the unique architecture, murals and institutions which have been created and supported by residents since the 1940s. Specifically, I am interested in the visible, vernacular particularity of these spaces and places which speak to the life-ways of those whose time in the area appears to be short. My current emphasis within the overall project focuses on Vernacular Faith—images of local houses of worship carved out of storefronts, businesses and rowhomes.