A couple days ago I got an email requesting photographs of some hot spots in Philadelphia for future issue a travel magazine. One of them was a strong opening photograph of the city. I was in Philadelphia on Wednesday to visit Spot Burgers at the N3rd Market and asked Josh about this.
"Hey, Josh! How are you doing?"
"TED! How are you man? What are you up to?"
"Not much. Working on a current assignment. One of the photo requests was an opening photograph of Philadelphia. And I am at a loss of what and where. I'd prefer not to submit the cliche, tourist spots. I'd rather send in something food related. Maybe I need to look at things with new eyes."
"Sounds tough, man!"
That was rough description of the exchange. After eating my burger, I had the Rodeo if you were asking, I was still wondering about that photograph. Even if the editor takes it or I submit one it was one that I wanted to think about.
As I looked through my backlog of photographs of Philadelphia, and looked at all the city and street scenes that I took, I started to think to myself... what and who really brought Philadelphia to what we see it is today? Food.
If you look back ten to fifteen years ago, no one has ever thought of Philadelphia as nothing more than US history and cheese steaks. Today? We have exposes in many of the national food publications- Bon Appetit writing Pizzeria Beddia as the state's best pizza, hummus from Dizengoff as the dish of the year, etc. This is an drastic change from just thinking of Philadelphia as cheesesteak. Which, to be honest, I do not like.
So I thought about the food and how it made a great change in Philadelphia's reputation from the pit stop between NYC and DC. It is the people who made these dishes. All the days of toiling in the kitchen to come up with these recipes, the people who grow and produce those ingredients, the people brought ingredients to them, pretty much everyone in front and behind the scenes of every dish.
As I zipped up my photographs to send over to the editor, I thought about writing this post. My posts on Exposure, "Portraits of Food in Philadelphia" touches on this, but something that I hope would celebrate in its purpose. It is these individuals, businesses, hard work, and creativity that has brought Philadelphia back in the forefront of every travel and food destination in the US and globally.