The Rocky Statue: (My time lapse video and a two hour study!)

The iconic Rocky statue stately stands in front of the beautiful, Greek inspired Philadelphia Art Museum . This bronze icon of the underdog going up against all odds and achieving success seems to strike a chord in so many hearts. It is Philadelphia’s “David”. A photograph with this famed statue has become the siren call for tourists. I wanted to document this in a different way so off I went with a time lapse camera set to take a photograph every minute for two hours while I also stood and took individual pictures. One grandfather told me that the only thing his grandson from Florida wanted to see was this statue and to have his picture with Rocky on his phone. I found that the majority of people morphed into the Rocky pose. Others stood stoically as if to show, yes they had come to Philadelphia. Some dressed him in an American Flag while others struck a fighting pose. Some touched his “private parts” and another blew him a kiss. Even though our world renowned Art Museum was closed, I was amazed at the number of people coming up. But for me, the most incredible moment which seemed to sum it all up was when a man came up in a wheel chair. He was disabled but he got up out of the chair and even though walking was obviously very difficult for him, he made it to the statue and stood tall next to this inspiration of greatness and the hope of transformation. He didn’t need the steps, he had the statue and its meaning.

All rights reserved. No unauthorized use, distribution, sales, lending or duplication is permitted without written notice from Frances Schwabenland, copyright 2012.

Laurel Hill Cemetery

I recently had the great privilege of photographing in Laurel Hill Cemetery in order to showcase its grand history and beauty in video. As the website states, “It is an outdoor sculptural garden, a horticultural gem and a truly unique historical resource.” As one who loves to tell stories, this project is one I am so enjoying doing. Laurel Hill is one of the oldest Victorian cemeteries in the United States and there are 78 acres of art and history. “Victorians delighted in memorial symbolism. Sometimes the monuments reflect a common repertoire of visual symbols. Angels with upraised fingers point the way to salvation. Shattered columns indicate a premature death. Flags, calvary swords, and arms represent a military career. In many cases, symbolism reflects the person. A mortar and pestle marks the resting place of George W. Vaughan, a well known pharmacist. An eagle perches on the monument of Commodore Isaac Hull, hero of the War of 1812. Calvary spurs memorialize Benjamin Hodgson, who died in the battle of Little Big Horn.” So many fascinating people are resting here… Josepha Hale, who edited Godey’s Lady’s Book; Thomas Walter, who designed the dome of the United States Capital building. Laurel Hill has earned its distinction as Philadelphia’s Underground Museum. My great thanks go out to Alexis Jeffcoat for her warmth, welcoming and help with this project. Joseph Edgette. Phd and Richard Sauers are truly the consumate storytellers, passing along their wealth of research and knowledge so generously. Taking a tour with them is a fascinating experience. Upcoming events are: General Meade Celebration on New Year’s Eve and I am told that hundreds of people come to this so get there early. Also, you may want to be a part of their 175th Anniversary Celebration. The website provides all the fun and interesting details. Again, many thanks Alexis, Joe and Rich! (Also, Caitlin Dougherty for your camera help!)