Worth

For What It's Worth, Richard Perkins PhotographyFor What It’s Worth, Richard Perkins Photography, The First Banana,

Written and photographed by Laura Storck.

Upon outlining my plan of attack for First Friday, I made a conscious effort to begin way out of the beaten art path, i.e., not in Old City, and venture even farther than many of the newer gallery openings on Frankford Avenue. My launch began at, the aptly-named, The First Banana in Fishtown to see the opening reception for the Richard Perkins solo photography exhibit, ‘For What It’s Worth‘. The photographs, mostly portraits of friends, were taken within the past 5 years to a mere week ago. Hailing from Portsmouth, Virginia, Perkins was in town for the occasion.

For What It's Worth, Richard Perkins PhotographyThe First Banana, 2152 E. Dauphin Street, Philadelphia, PA 19125

Richard Perkins’ collection of portraits are vibrant, edgy, and voyeuristic, yet have an intimate and candid vibe to them. The fact that they were printed and posted directly on the wall gives the viewer a sense of immediacy and urgency that they must be seen. Many images rely heavily on flash, which I like, and therefore appear similar to a “look book” feel – which, in fact, shouldn’t come as a surprise, as in 2013 he helped to photograph clothing for Play Cloths, a progressive street-wear brand, also located in Virginia.

For What It's Worth, Richard Perkins, The First BananaFor What It’s Worth, Richard Perkins Photography, The First Banana

Very interestingly, Richard’s photographs were taken with only a disposable film camera or a digital point-and-shoot (he graciously showed me his white Samsung camera tucked away in his pocket). He confided that he likes to be as unobtrusive as possible when photographing his subjects, as to not point a large intimidating camera in their direction.

For What It's Worth, Richard Perkins, The First BananaFor What It’s WorthRichard Perkins, photography at The First BananaFor What It's Worth, Richard Perkins, The First BananaFor What It’s WorthRichard Perkins, Untitled, photograph, The First Banana

To compliment the exhibition, one of Richard’s films was being projected on a side wall above the stage. Richard explained,

“The film was called ‘Down From The Mountains‘ and it’s of my girlfriend Tabitha Lopez. The film consisted of a bored night where we drew out of a hat of what to do and one was to “make a movie” so I wanted to make a 20 minute long short film of Tabitha against a wall doing whatever she thought fit.”

The film, shot in black and white, consists of Tabitha speaking directly to the camera. The footage has a very dreamy and mercurial quality to it, in which I felt uncertain of what to expect next but compelled to watch more.

For What It's Worth, Richard Perkins, The First BananaDown From The Mountains, video, Richard PerkinsThe First Banana

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Richard Perkins’ work and meeting the artist himself, especially on my first stop on First Friday at the First Banana. Richard’s expressively charged, raw, and moody photographs can be seen on display through November. The First Banana is a member-driven gallery, venue and performance space created to meet the needs of performance artists and artists in other mediums finding it hard to establish themselves in the art world.

The First Banana is located at 2152 E. Dauphin Street, Philadelphia, PA 19125; (267) 934- 6263.

Written and photographed by Laura Storck.

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