Mustafah Abdulaziz’s “Personal Renaissance” exhibition, which documents the journeys of recovering drug addicts in one of Philadelphia’s methadone clinics, opened at City Hall yesterday. In an effort to”…bridge a greater understanding of the real nature of human dignity and the paths we all travel in the pursuit of understanding our own,” Mustafah spent approximately one year traveling to North Philly to get to know the men and women whom he photographed. With a simple white backdrop taped against the nearest flat surface, he was able to capture the essence of these people so that their images and journeys could intertwine with those of the commuters passing by their display at the City Hall subway concourse.

I decided that I liked this collection especially for the attention to detail each picture conveyed — a breeze that cast the subject’s hair out-of-place in one, her eyes piercing through the paper on another. When I shadowed Mustafah while on assignment for the Wall Street Journal last week he encouraged me to not only be critical, but also to be specifically critical. This means not just appreciating (or disliking) a piece, but figuring out exactly what it is in the image that speaks to me (or doesn’t). Hopefully I will hone this skill as my knowledge and terminology on the topic expands.

I took a walk after wandering around the exhibition for a while. This is what I came up with: bubble water.




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