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Blighted Schoolhouse





 
 
 
Blighted Schoolhouse 
A picturesque collection of townhouses sit under the brown and rust-orange hues of Philadelphia's skyline. Nicely manicured lawns of vibrant green grow in a complete contradiction to anything found as little as a single block away. The city's efforts to beautify the area through redevelopment is a good idea, but as it sits now things seem a bit surreal as the old and run-down clash against the clean and new. No matter how well maintained your back lawn may be, it's impossible to ignore what lies around you. This fact becomes even more evident as the sun sets in the sky, and the towering corpses of the city stretch their shadows over the evenly mowed property of their new neighbors.

One such shadow belongs to a long closed elementary school. Its walls of broken windows stand high above the rows of vinyl-sided two story townhouses. Being an urban location which has seen plenty of traffic, the inside of this place has been torn apart. What hasn't been broken into fine pieces has been spray painted over, and over, and over. Little remains herein to remind us that this was once a school, save the long hallways of open doors, and the rather unique caged rooftop gymnasium. The abandoned Spring Garden school was abandoned in the mid-eighties and has become frequented location for photographers. There are literally hundreds of thousands of images of it present online. So many in fact, that at first we questioned even filming it, for fear that adding our own work to the existing flood of imagery may prove a pointless endeavor. We were already in the city though, so we figured why not see what there is to see. It's good that we did, as part of what is so enjoyable about heavily trafficked locations such as this old school is seeing other people's takes on the same subject matter.
 

Who knows - Several hundred people may have photographed these same halls before us, and several hundred more may well do so after. People sometimes forget it, but photography is a very personal art-form, and often the only way to truly understand something (or in this case someplace) is to witness it through other people's eyes. This is what we saw that day.