Walking In Olde Kensington, Philadelphia (2012– 2016) 
Essay by Pete Duval 

“ … Waller’s own intelligent presence suffuses these evocative photographs. The book is a layered diary, a travelogue of his wanderings—of his daily dérives—through and around the Philadelphia neighborhood where he lived for a number of years. – Fiction writer and photographer, Pete Duval (from his essay)

Olde Kensington, north of Center City Philadelphia, was predominantly a post-industrial area when photographer John Waller moved to town. Yet ominous signs of change could be seen everywhere as the neighborhood rapidly renovated and gentrified like the rest of Philadelphia. In the style of the classic flâneur of old, Waller wandered the streets recording a city in a state of flux. Permanent Drift (Daylight Books, May 25, 2021) brings together 53 of Waller’s monochrome images taken during his regular walks around the neighborhood from 2012-2016. Pete Duval contributes an essay. 

In the book’s foreword, Waller writes: “As a lone walker, muddling my way through this unfamiliar and transitional neighborhood, I set out to document my time in Olde Kensington. The sense that some invisible force seemed to be directing these walks, influencing my movements in secret, was hard to ignore. This reticent escort seemed intent on eliciting conflicting senses of adversity, apprehension, desire, and elation.” Waller’s photography explores the fragmentation of everyday life, memory, and the relationship to place. He walked his neighborhood repeatedly, without any sense of purpose, yet always keeping his mind and eyes on alert for an interesting picture. He’s attracted to the back alleys, vacant and unused spaces – the “interstitials” — rather than the main roads populated by people, shops, and restaurants. He likened the experience of his meanderings in Olde Kensington to searching for home in a place that he found both confusing and contradictory.”  

In his essay, Pete Duval explains the photobook Permanent Drift is an allusion to the French philosopher and Marxist theorist Guy Debord’s idea of le dérive (literally “drift”), “a practice for understanding, repurposing, resisting the way built environments are intended to be lived in, passed through, felt. Like Debord’s practice, essentially a form of whimsical wandering.”  

Duval comments on the photographs: “ … everywhere, forces are afoot that seek, intentionally or not, to undermine the stark utilitarian purposes of the built environment and render it beautiful. Vines and opportunistic trees well up from weedy lots to overtake houses. Facades flake and crumble. Smoke stacks of decommissioned electrical plants rust in the distance … Everywhere we encounter the inscrutable: cryptic messages and effaced signifiers, blank billboards, illegible scrawl and faded graffiti, a shroud of snow that resolves itself into a teddy bear lashed to a metal fence post. And over everything, the omnipresent shadow stencils—even more fleeting—designs approaching the abstract, diagonals on scored concrete walls, the crisscross of scaffolding, the configurations of pigeons arrested in curved flight.”

 About the Photographer:
John Waller (b. 1976) is an American photographer currently living in Massachusetts where he was born and raised. He embarked on his career in photography in 2012 upon graduation from The University Of The Arts in Philadelphia. He has self-published several photography zines, and his work has also been published in Incandescent Magazine, Save Zine, Atwood Magazine, and exhibited in group shows at Art League Rhode Island, Project Basho, Doomed Gallery, London, Texas Photographic Society, Gravy Studio, and Darkroom Gallery; where he received an honorable mention from juror Bruce Gilden. 

About the Contributor:
Pete Duval is a fiction writer and photographer. His short story collection, Rear View (Houghton Mifflin), won the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Bakeless Prize, the Connecticut Book Award, and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times’ Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. A second collection, The Deposition, winner of the 2020 Juniper Prize for Fiction, will be published by The University of Massachusetts Press in the spring of 2021. As a street and landscape photographer, Pete explores urban Philadelphia, where he lives, and coastal Massachusetts, where he grew up―settings that figure significantly in his writing as well.

Daylight is a non-profit organization dedicated to publishing art and photography books. By exploring the documentary mode along with the more conceptual concerns of fine art, Daylight’s uniquely collectible publications work to revitalize the relationship between art, photography, and the world-at-large. For more information,


Book Details:                                                         

8 x 10 | 112 pp                                                                    

53 B&W photographs / Cloth over Board          

US $45.00 | CAN $58.99                                            

ISBN: 9781942084969 W


Exposure X7

Exposure Software Announces Exposure X7 Complete Image Editing Software for Creative Photographers  Exposure Software, previously known as Alien Skin Software, today announced the release of Exposure X7, the latest version of their award-winning RAW photo editor for...


Nor Dread, Nor Hope Attend: Stories from the Plains of Africa by David Gulden is published by Damiani "The power of David Gulden’s epic photographs of lions, cheetahs, leopards, and elephants lies not just in what you can see, but in what you know lies beyond the...

Le futur de Verbatim

Le support optique est mort, vive le support optique !    Verbatim est depuis de nombreuses années, un des leaders dans le domaine du Digital Storage. Ce géant de la fabrication et de la distribution de CD et DVD, propose également de nombreuses cartes mémoires,...


Essay by Colin WesterbeckForeword by Casey WoodsPreface by Donald GrahamEdited by David FaheyHATJE CANTZ / SPRING 2021  “My portraits are about honest moments that display qualities of the human character including wisdom and sensitivity, peace and vulnerability, both...

Magnum Square Print Sale

MAGNUM  SQUARE PRINT SALE. March 22nd -March 28thDennis Stock Audrey Hepburn during the filming of “Sabrina”, directed by Billy Wilder. Long Island, New York, USA. 1954. © Dennis Stock | Magnum Photos Celebrating the unpredictability of life, the curation of the...


COVID-19: PAIN AND CRISIS IN LIFE 1er juillet – 1er novembre 2020The world's people are in a distressed condition physically, mentally, economically, socially due to the outbreak of the Covid- 19 virus. The world is suffering from huge work loss and poverty. It leads...

Cyberlink Photo Director 365 Sky Replacement Tool

Cyberlink Photo Editor is a strong Photo Editor. I had one of the first versions, when it was bundled in a Desktop PC I bought. I didn't use it much, as I go Photoshop 3, that became my main Photo editor.. 4 months ago, I go a Cyberlink Press release, announcing the...

Affinity & MacOs BIG SUR M1 support

Affinity apps accelerate with macOS Big Sur and native M1 support  Affinity creative apps are ready to go on Apple’s new macOS Big Sur—and primed to deliver superfast performance on Macs with M1 chips. Available now, the Affinity 1.8.6 update for macOS is ready to tap...


IWhat do you really know about Andy Warhol? Why and how do you know his name? Even if you've not read any of the numerous biographies of his life, you probably know he painted Soup Cans and Marilyn Monroe. But you've been misled on purpose because these really aren't...

EVO II Drones series

Evo II Drones SERIES Cette nouvelle gamme se compose de 3 drones : le EVO II Standard, le EVO II Pro et le EVO II Dual.   Leur batterie rechargeable de 7100 mAh offre une autonomie de 40 minutes en vol et utilise également un nouveau système breveté, nommée...

Tailor-Made: Fashion Photographs from the Collection of Peter Fetterman

Phillips  announce Tailor-Made: Fashion Photographs from the Collection of Peter Fetterman , an exclusive online auction that celebrates a century of fashion photography, tracing the history of women’s fashion through 64 quintessential images spanning from the 1920s...

Portraits of Humanity 2019 Winners revealed.

The 50 winning and 200 shortlisted Portrait of Humanity images have been announced.  1854 Media, publisher of British Journal of Photography, in partnership with Magnum Photos, have created Portrait of Humanity - an award aiming to unite the global community through...
Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates fromShades Of Grey Fine Art Photography Magazine.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!