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A Real Philly Photo Exhibit

December 11, 2013 By:
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Weiner at the opening of his show at Philadelphia International Airport.

What do Bill Clinton, Jessica Alba and Jon Bon Jovi have in common — other than being household names? They are all in Philly.

To be more precise, they are part of “I’m in Philly,” a new photo exhibition at the Philadelphia International Airport from veteran photographer Scott Weiner.

The Philadelphia-born, Virgin Islands-raised Weiner, 62,  has chronicled the movers and shakers who pass through the city since he graduated from Temple in the 1970s.

His new celebrity-based show — a self-described “secret project” that he worked on for 10 years — came about as a result of an unused photograph.

In 2003, Weiner, who has worked extensively for the Jewish Federation of Greater Phila­delphia as well as film studios, music companies and the Jewish Exponent, was a photographer at Philadelphia Style magazine. He recalls that for one issue, he and the magazine’s editor were going through possible images for the publication. “I had a photo of a celebrity that I took, but the editor said, ‘Oh, we can’t use that photo — there’s no Philadelphia tie-in.’ I thought, what do I have to do? Take a picture of everyone holding a sign saying, ‘I’m in Philly?’ ”

Over the ensuing decade, that is exactly what he did. Using a series of signs proclaiming “I’m in Philly” — made by his daughter, Mariel — Weiner convinced 88 of the most recognizable faces in the United States to engage in some impromptu boosterism. He asked 90, but two people said no. “I don’t remember who the other one to say no was, but one of them was Delroy Lindo,” he says. The veteran character actor was perfectly agreeable during the scheduled photo shoot, but when, as has been his custom, Weiner brought out the sign for his subject to hold as the last shot of the session, Lindo balked. “I whipped out the sign, handed it to him, and he handed it back to me and said, ‘Nah, I’m not gonna do that.’ The other 88 people were quite happy to do it,” the photographer remembers.

Lindo missed out on a great opportunity to increase his Q score: More than 1,000 people a day pass the walls where the 60 works that comprise his exhibition are hung. That number includes the non-ticketed public — the space where the show is located, between Terminals E and F at Philadelphia International Airport, is a dedicated public space.

IF YOU GO

“I’m in Philly”
Through April 2014
Philadelphia International Airport between Terminals E and F
For more information,
go to www.phl.org.

 

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