Daniel Traub grew up in Philadelphia, but it wasn’t until he came back after spending ten years working in China that he considered working on a photography project in Pennsylvania. “The area that I had spent time in as a youth was in the African American part of North Philadelphia,” Traub tells PDN via email, “and that’s the area that I felt pulled in to return to and to photograph.” The project grew into a five-year effort to document the homes, street corners, and residents of the community where he once lived.
Because Traub was working with a large format camera, shooting a few sheets of film per person, his subjects had time to settle in and relax before their portrait was taken. Each person was photographed in the environment in which they were found (in many cases in front of their home), and loosely directed. “I didn’t pose anyone but occasionally asked people to make small changes such as the direction in which they were looking.”
In 2008, when Traub was just beginning to work on the project, he approached an editor at Kehrer Verlag who expressed interest. As he continued, he kept in touch with his contact there and finally, in 2013, felt he had enough work to make a cohesive book. North Philadelphia (Kehrer Verlag) was released earlier this summer in Europe, with a U.S. release set for November 2014. Copies are available at the Frankfurt Book Fair through October 12. Join Traub for book signings at Paris Photo November 13-16 and at Print Center in Philadelphia on December 16, 2014.