« In the heart of downtown Philadelphia, among abandoned buildings and impoverished neighborhoods where drugs and unemployment pervade, is a place called Fletcher Street. A block that upon first glance looks just like all the others, that is, until you see the horses and hear their hoof beats. »
Martha Camarillo has documented the phenomena first in a Life magazine cover story.
« Fletcher Street’s riding community has been a part of the Philadelphia community for over 100 years. For many of those years, Fletcher Street was part of a larger urban horse community that numbered in over 50 stables throughout Philadelphia. Today, it is well known that the area surrounding Fletcher Street has increasingly struggled with unemployment and drugs overtaking the community; the men and boys of Fletcher Street have in turn struggled to maintain their horses, stables and way of life as conditions have become increasingly difficult. »
« The mission of The Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club is to save and restore this historical, important facet of Philadelphia’s community, and most importantly, its children. Fletcher Street’s horse community is for many children, the only safe place to be mentored, to feel good about themselves, to learn important lessons in responsibility, discipline and reward. Many of the boys that frequent Fletcher Street have little to no support in life and the men on Fletcher Street have consistently taken it upon themselves to provide a positive environment and some facet of stability for those kids that have none. Fletcher Street is determined to preserve its legacy, children and horses. »
Wow ! check the Cowboys of Philly, wearing sneakers on horseback with names like : Red Pony, Champ, Power, White Chick, One Eye and Easy Like Sunday Morning, riding through dilapidated hoods, hookin’ up abandoned houses as stables, provide the unique window into Fletcher street’s brotherhood.
Horses are like their owners, have their own cruel experiences, many of them saved from low-end auctions and slaughterhouses, but now, they are Diamonds in the rough ! ^_^
Fletcher Street book available from Powerhouse Books…
Martha Camarillo is a photographer from Texas. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Life, The Telegraph, Numéro, Journal, i-D, and many others. Her first book, Remote Photos (Janvier/Léo Scheer, 2005), a collaboration with artist Avena Gallagher, was an in-depth look at the identity of teenage male and female models, made by giving the models themselves disposable cameras to be used by whomever they saw fit. Work from the project was exhibited at Léo Scheer Gallery, Paris, in 2005. Camarillo was the winner of the Hyères Festival 2001, and the 2002 Art Director’s Award.