Jeffrey Stockbridge: Selections from "Kensington Blues"

Documenting Philadelphia's Kensington neighborhood and the local effects of the nationwide opioid addiction crisis since 2008.

Jeffrey Stockbridge (b. 1982) has been documenting Philadelphia's Kensington neighborhood and the local effects of the nationwide opioid addiction crisis since 2008. PAFA recently acquired eight photos from this series, which are on display for the first time in the Historic Landmark Building. 

Jeffrey Stockbridge made these pictures with a 4x5 film camera, a complicated apparatus whose conspicuous size and slow working speed meant that each portrait could be nothing less than a collaboration between the photographer and an actively participating subject. To amplify the voices of the people he portrays, he asked them to write and speak about their experiences—two of their journal entries are shown here, and the artist makes his audio recordings available online. Stockbridge intentionally refrains from offering explanations, solutions, blame, or any generalized portrayal of Kensington as a whole. Instead, his focused images of specific people offer a more immediate connection. In his own words: “I’m really just trying to show. I’m not trying to define. I’m just trying to say: ‘look.’”