Nestled between boarded up warehouses and vacant lots off Girard Avenue is a hidden paradise for photographers known formerly as “Project Basho.”
The words ‘Project Basho’ are written in bold horizontal letters identifying one of the warehouse doors at the intersection of Thompson Street and Germantown Avenue as the location. It may seem easy to miss from the outside but this photography resource center is surely not something to pass by.
Tsuyoshi Ito is the founder and director of Project Basho which began in 2002.
“I initially began the project because there was no where you could go in the city to take photography classes,” Ito said.
An experienced photographer himself Ito wanted to ‘re-invent photography in Philadelphia.’
Almost nine years later Project Basho has developed offering classes plus holding workshops, photography shows, panel discussions and competitions.
“There is nothing like this in Philadelphia,” said Joseph Kairnes, a facilities manager at Project Basho.
The community darkroom happens to be one of the few darkrooms available to the public throughout Philadelphia. Project Basho supplies photographers like Natalie Piserchio with the tools they need to produce their work.
“No one gives you a lot of guidance in art school so it is a good experience in that way,” Piserchio said.
The people at Project Basho offer a hands-on learning experience and helpful assistance to any photographer no matter what skill level.
“We’re all photographers working here to provide photography to others,” Kairnes said.
“There is a lot of god energy going on here,” Ito added. “If you can make a living out of what you love to do that is a success for me.”
Project Basho is sure to make any visitor ‘say cheese.’