Steven CW Taylor
Triumph on Chew Ave (2022)
Photographer Steven CW Taylor presents two new works, highlighting his deep roots in his community as a way to channel his artistic pursuits and focus on social empowerment. Growing up on Chew Avenue in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, Taylor found himself surrounded by opportunities that oftentimes failed to realize. Through his artistic endeavors, he hopes to change the narrative by shining a light on creative approaches and new solutions emerging from the community.
Taylor’s photographs All of The Lights (Paris, 2015) and Grounded in Light (Philadelphia, 2016) represent two distinct moments in time, reaching back to the early stages of his photography career. At that time, he was immersing himself in his new craft, learning about lighting and location.
All of The Lights is a long-exposure photograph of the iconic Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France. In 2015 Taylor was just learning about the practice of long-exposure photography and had only previously attempted this style with GoPros.
“While enjoying a sunset dinner with friends across the street from the Arc,” Taylor recalls. “I noticed how the lighting, both of and surrounding the Arc, drastically intensified as the sun was setting.“ Wanting to test out what he had been learning about long exposure, but not having a tripod, Taylor saw a great vantage point from the ground and was able to capture the brilliance of that brief moment in All of The Lights.
Taylor’s focus on light and shadow is also evident in his work Grounded in Light, where highly dramatized light effects literally and symbolically draw attention to community, identity, and belonging. The stark differences in lighting and location, evoke a sense of pride in his Germantown roots, which encouraged the artist to see the “light” in everything.
Grounded in Light is a photograph of a person walking across the street on a foggy December night in front of Taylor’s home on Chew Avenue. Living on a bustling street, where there is no shortage of Septa buses, and light always seems to illuminate the dark, this foggy night created the perfect environment for “light” to flex its power!
“A quick peek outside revealed the majestic conditions for some dramatic photography,” Taylor recalls. “I quickly bundled up, grabbed my camera, and spent the next hour outside.” Triumph on Chew Ave reinforces Taylor’s philosophy that by being steadfast with continually courting a “Sunny Disposition,” no setback can impact how triumphant this bright light from Chew Ave. can be!