Philly plant exchange
I’ve always had an affinity for plants since I can remember. When I was a little girl, my mom and I would build a garden every summer. We’d go to the local plant nursery and she’d let me pick my favorites.
While attending graduate school in Florida, I reconnected with my love for plants. One of my fellow grads had quite an amazing bonsai and succulent collection and I was hooked. I found a craigslist ad titled “FREE PLANTS,” and the next day, my roommate drove with me to somebody’s house in the middle of the woods. I was gifted tons of lilies, a few century plant pups, soap aloe… I received so many plants that it filled my car’s hatch to the brim. We had to put the seats down to fit everything. Since then I have never gone a day without plants because they bring so much joy and light into my life. Within a couple of years, I had over fifty potted plants that lived on my porch.
After moving to Philadelphia, I found the Philly Plant Exchange Facebook group. I joined searching for a sense of place, friendship, and to see what others in the area had to say about their plants. What I found was an incredible, open, and welcoming community of people who love all types of vegetation. I am most amazed at how many of the members fill up their tiny row-homes and apartments with plants. I’ve read posts that discuss routinely watering three hundred house plants on a regular basis. After scrolling through the feed with images and people talking about the different types of flora they own, trade, and purchase, I was inspired to meet as many enthusiasts as I could and make portraits of them with their plant life inside their homes.
The Philly Plant Exchange project is ongoing. It explores how the residents of the Philadelphia area connect with nature in an urban environment and cultivate and maintain an online community. After reaching out to the Facebook group in January 2019. I have been to neighborhoods in South Philly, West Philly, North Philly, and the surrounding area.
The photographs are created using a 4x5 large format camera. Additionally, I take two instant prints using my Fujifilm Instax camera, one to give and one to keep.
This is a current and ongoing project. I will be adding a collection of imagery as the photographs come available. If you’re interested in the project please feel free to reach out via my contact page.