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Photo of the Week #181

Will Brown

Black and white of a neighborhood bar with windows covered in protective e metal grating, a neon sign says "Marie's Bar".

Marie's Bar, 1973
Vintage gelatin silver print


Feburary 21, 2022
This photograph of “Marie’s Bar” is an intriguing study in contradictions: the way the entire facade is fortified with metal grating speaks volumes about its tumultuous surroundings, yet the picture exudes a calm, compassionate, and reflective beauty.

The Queen Village section of Philadelphia, a waterfront neighborhood historically home to generations of working class immigrants, had fallen into decline in the 1970’s. Will Brown was among the artists in the period who purchased one of the area's affordable historic homes and he began photographing in the surrounding streets.

Brown deftly used certain qualities of light to transform locations like this neighborhood bar into places of quiet contemplation. This picture is at once specific to the era and place, while also seeming to stand outside of time, bathed in an empathetic light, evoking the wonderful views of Paris mornings by Eugene Atget.