Philadelphia Metropolis

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The Flickring of Philly: Fen Branklin

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By Elise Vider

Fen Branklin, like his near-namesake, is a man with a wide range of interests, an eye for beauty, a sense of humor and an affection for Philadelphia.

Fen's alter ego is Jeremy Burger, 35, a prolific poster of Philadelphia photography on Flickr, a sometime disk jockey, a self-described "professional slacker," a dog behaviorist and the alpha male at The Philly Pack, which provides high-endurance exercise for dogs.

As Burger marches his canine clients around Philadelphia, mostly in Center City and surrounding neighborhoods, he totes his camera, usually a Canon Digital Rebel XT with interchangeable lenses, and shoots critters, street scenes, buildings, architectural details -- anything that strike his fancy.

Feb Branklin.jpg"The majority of my photographs come from just keeping my eyes open," he says. "So many people in Philadelphia walk around with their heads down. You'd be amazed what you can see when you keep your head up and survey your surroundings."

A West Chester native, Burger moved to Philadelphia 10 years ago and has become captivated by its charms. "I see beauty all over the city," he says.

 "Jeremy should be contracted for his images in the promotion of the city of Philadelphia," posted one Flickr fan. "At the very least, his documentation of the city's ever-changing skyline will hopefully be preserved somewhere in the city's archives. He has an exceptional eye for architectural photography and capturing the inner workings of a city in all its beauty. With images like the ones by Jeremy, Philly should stand out as being more than just a city between DC and NYC."

Ben Franklin Bridge.jpgBurger is willing to take heat to get his shot: A few years ago he climbed onto a catwalk on the Ben Franklin Bridge and was arrested, handcuffed and charged with trespassing. The incident triggered a heated discussion thread on Flickr. Most congratulated Burger for the image itself and his audacity in taking it; one comment suggested the bridge be renamed "the Fen Branklin." But a few others were highly critical of Burger for breaking the law and engaging in "a stupid stunt." Burger calmly defended himself:  "My actions weren't malicious or destructive. I saw an opportunity to take a memorable image and went with it, period." (He wound up with a $50 fine.)

Burger's screen name is a whimsical homage to Franklin, one of his heroes. "He was the ultimate Renaissance man and a Philadelphian, so I reversed it to imply that maybe I'm a poor man's - please, underline that - Ben Franklin," he says with modesty. "We could all aspire in some ways to be more like Ben."

Masthead Photo: King Tut by Fen Branklin

Text Photo 1: Self-Portrait by Fen Branklin

Text Photo 2: Arrested Development by Fen Branklin

Read: The Flickring of Philly: Al Stegeman


Click below for a slideshow of Fen Branklin's work: 




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