Takeaways from the Delaware River Towns Photo Project Exhibit

On Saturday I drove about 20 minutes to the beautiful town of Lambertville, just over the New Hope – Lambertville Bridge on the Jersey side of the Delaware River. Lambertville is one of a number of small historic and picturesque towns that dot both the Pennsylvania and New Jersey sides of the river close to where I live in Bucks County.

The purpose of the drive was to view the exhibit of the Delaware River Towns Photo Project. The intent of “Project” was to “bring photographers together to photograph on the same times in the same places to see what they saw”. It was a collaborative effort bringing professional and amateur photographers together to photograph six towns on both sides of the river that share a common proximity and history. Those on the Pennsylvania side grew up around the construction of the Delaware Canal in the 1840s and ones in New Jersey emerged in response to the building of the railroad several decades later.

In February the Philadelphia Inquirer and a number of the smaller regional papers published a “call for photographers” and the photo shoot took place on Earth Day Weekend in April. The only rule was that you had to photograph within the municipal boundaries of each town. Every subject was fair game. 281 photographs were submitted for judging and 108 were chosen for the exhibit. All were 8X12 inches in size, both black and white and color, with a range of subjects from architecture, to railroads, to the river, to the people that inhabit the towns.

I always come away from a show learning something or gain a new insight. The Delaware River Towns Photo Project was a tremendous success. It fulfilled it’s stated objective, but most importantly it served as a vehicle to get people out and photograph … and hopefully … to learn something more about where they live. Something we all could probably do more of – right? And the title of the initiative includes the word “project”. I have written previously about the value of doing both long and short-term photographic projects.

Going to see theme based shows like this can give you the push to either get your dormant creative juices flowing again … by appropriating the idea for your own work, if that’s what it takes … or just give you the necessary kick in the pants to get out there period!

Was it a monumental artistic event? No. Was it a worthwhile and a good thing?  Yes, and for all the right reasons!!!

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