Quil Lemons’ new photo series explores his hometown of South Philadelphia


For Lemons, “the difference between sharing this project and the others that came before it is that once it’s out, I’ll not only be at peace but also finally be ready to talk about some of the harder things in life. Releasing this is a deep exhale,” he tells It’s Nice That. The photographer’s motivation for this project was a desire to shift his lens onto his own community, “capturing the essence of what it means to be Black in America, and the changing landscape of a nation in flux,” writes Elder in the WePresent piece.

The shoot is in classic Lemons style, with low contrast and a warm colour palette, showing his hometown in a humane yet celebratory manner. In this sense, Lemons hopes he’s able to show the Black diaspora something that is familiar – a portrait of ordinary Black family life – something that they can feel connected to in artistic spaces which are often overwhelmingly white. “With your family members,” Lemons tells Elder, “you kind of look at them and idolise them, but this is the first time I was actually seen as an adult.”

In the shoot, Lemons pays homage to important Philadelphian characteristics, like the music scene, “in a city famed for its contributions to soul and hip-hop,” writes Elder. On the day of the shoot, Lemons explains that Freeway and Peedi Crakk’s Flipside was playing, “because for him it’s a Philadelphia anthem,” expands Elder.



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