Jordan Baumgarten has been photographing his home, the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia, for the past ten years. Typically, he makes work for his long-term projects while on meandering bike rides, walks, errands, and visits with friends. However, sometimes inspiration and tragedy strike a bit closer to home: all of the pictures in ‘Family Tree Removal’ were made from his bathroom window in under an hour.
On the surface, ‘Family Tree Removal’ depicts the process of chopping down an overgrown mulberry tree from an alleyway, but its roots belie darker truths about best-laid plans, unfulfilled potential, human fallibility, the fragility of friendships and family, and ultimately life and death itself. While these photographs address a straightforward narrative, Baumgarten’s writings comprise years of complex meditation and analysis; together these elements explore the chaos and distortion so often caused by trauma.
Jordan Baumgarten is a photographer born and based in Philadelphia, PA. He turned 18 his senior year of high school - 8 days later was 9/11. He was in 3rd period, confused as hell, and still stoned from the morning commute to school. Some months later he would lose his virginity to the Dave Matthews Band song “Crash into me.” Those were his introductions to adulthood - a prologue to the absurdity and disappointment of life as an elder millennial. With a 2.45 GPA, Jordan earned his BFA in Photography from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. Then, the recession came and started swallowing opportunities. In the hope the country might rebound by the time he’d finish a masters degree, Jordan went on to receive his MFA in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design. There would be no economic rebound. Providence’s inability to craft an acceptable sandwich would send Jordan back home to Philadelphia in 2011. Since then, he has been making work in his neighborhood - usually never straying further than a bathroom emergency’s walk from his house. The recipient of numerous grants and awards, Baumgarten’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in two-person and juried group exhibitions. His work has been included in publications such as the British Journal of Photography,Vice, Dazed, Pop-Up Magazine and the New York Times among others. His monographs include Briar Patch (Parts and Labor 2013), Good Sick (GOST 2018), and upcoming spring 2024, The Group for Mutual Improvement (GOST). In 2021, after a decade in academia, Jordan left teaching to become a pizza maker. Everyday he gets to feed the same neighbors he lives alongside and photographs. It is his perfect circle. Go Birds.
10 inches x 10 inches
Newsprint in Dust jacket, Saddle Stitched
60 pages, 27 b/w plates