Justin Maxon in Chester, PA

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Having been born in Chester, Pa., a long-blighted, depressed and poverty-stricken small city once booming with department stores and fancy restaurants (according to my grandmother), I was moved when I came across Justin Maxon's work online. Last Fall, the NY Times Lens blog featured the photojournalist's project about this place, "When the Spirit Moves." The black-and-white photographs often are comprised of multiple exposures, a process which the photographer says "speaks to the complexities that are heavy on the lives of people in this community." Still having family in the immediate area, I know this to be true, and was happy that a photographer born on the other side of the country had the interest and willingness to embark on this project in an area that needs attention. More attention than merely plunking down a Harrah's Casino as forward-thinking development, as was done in 2006. The pictures appear timeless and haunted, from the wood-paneled rental apartments to the omniscient view of the fields of oil refineries nearby.

To see more of his work:


And to help Justin raise money with Emphas.is, a new fundning site, to help organize a rally against violence in Chester:


For a taste of local nostalgia, visit: