Kensington Avenue in North Philadelphia is infamous for drug abuse and prostitution. The Avenue runs 3 miles through what is now a dangerous and crime-ridden neighborhood. Kensington Blues is a photography series by Jeffrey Stockbridge, 36, that documented the struggles and the dark reality of local residents.

Between 2008 and 2014, the photographer took a series of intimate portraits of people capturing a side of Philadelphia that is rarely seen or talked about. The residents shared their stories, talking about drugs, prostitution and other struggles of their lives.

"The goal of my work is to enable people to relate to one another in a fundamentally human way, despite any commonly perceived differences"- Jeffrey shared on his website. "I rely on the trust and sincerity of those I photograph to help me in this process."

Take a look at the powerful images below.

More info: kensingtonblues.com

#1

Al

Al

Al lives in a house off Kensington Avenue without electricity or running water. He sometimes rents his upstairs bedroom to prostitutes in need of a private location for engaging in sex and drug use.

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

#2

Sarah

Sarah

"I'm 55 years old, I have a master's degree in psychology, but after my husband, mother and father, died in a car accident two years ago, I lost my whole family, my career, one, my health, all in one go."

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

#3

The Twins Tic Tac And Tootsie

The Twins Tic Tac And Tootsie

"We out here so we can get money so we has somewhere to rest our heads. We look out for each other. If I can't get money, she gets it, and whatever money we get we share...We need quick money cause we need somewhere to sleep every day. I mean, trust me, we don't want to be out here doing this. This is the last thing I want to do. But I do what I have to do to take care of my sister. Cause she’s all I got and I’m all she's got."

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

Sean O'mahoney
Community Member
2 years ago

Walking down B street I always think of a story I had read a long time ago. It was about a man whose practice it was to walk through the fish market. He would walk through the fish market. He would see the fish on the ice, some still living and struggling for breath. He would hear the CHOP of the cleaver, separating the head from the body of the fish. He would see the scales and the fluids, and he would see the monger and the customer, haggling over the body of the fish. "The commerce of suffering." He called it. That is what I see on my walk down B st. The commerce of suffering.

#4

Pat And Rachel

Pat And Rachel

They still have children, whom they gave away to a special agency for their protection. "We gave the kids away, people say it's a selfish act, but I think it's the best I could do for their better future," Rachel said.

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

#5

Carroll

Carroll

She told that she often sleeps on the streets during the day to protect herself at night.

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

#6

Jamie

Jamie

"I’ve been raped, and, you know, almost killed really"

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

Amanda Vazquez
Community Member
2 years ago

😟

#7

Bob

Bob

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

Linda Gray
Community Member
2 years ago

This guy Bob, looks so familiar. I am wondering if he is from Maine. We went to college together back in the early 80's. I would love to have this confirmed somehow.

#8

Tanya

Tanya

She is 25 years old, working in the sex industry since she was 18.

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

#9

Carol

Carol

A local resident, at the time she was 41. Carol told the photographer that she had been doing heroin for 21 years and it became "the love of her life".

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

Amanda Raynes
Community Member
2 years ago

These are so sad.

#10

Mary

Mary

"I don't just do this for drugs. I do this because I wanna eat, because I like to buy clothes, because I like the small things, you know. I did have a normal life once but...I really believe, like if my, if my family say like, "Mary come, come home stay with us" like, if I could I would..."

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

Amanda Raynes
Community Member
2 years ago

People could go a long way to helping by NOT buying sex. Sex is personal and sacred even if you like to get around it should not be bought. That is vile.

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#11

Sarah And Dennis

Sarah And Dennis

The veins in Sarah's arms were no good for injection, so she asked Dennis for the drug to be injected to her neck.

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

#12

Susan

Susan

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

#13

Matt Neal

Matt Neal

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

Jessica Peters
Community Member
2 years ago

❤️

#14

Kensington And Somerset

Kensington And Somerset

Maria: "I’ve been here almost 8 years and I see a lot of bad stuff going around. They say when you go between it, you gonna do it too." Robert: "You don’t need no cable, you don’t have to watch TV. You just gotta sit out here. You see drama, you see soap opera, you see violence and crime." Maria: "You even see sex."

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

#15

Matt Neal

Matt Neal

He struggled with drug addiction after being released from prison. Sepsis developed in his left leg. Because of his addiction, he failed to meet the treatment regimen and eventually the doctors had to amputate part of the leg.

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

#16

Nichole

Nichole

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

#17

Vinny

Vinny

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

#18

Melissa's Arms

Melissa's Arms

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

Amanda Raynes
Community Member
2 years ago

So sad

#19

Jamie

Jamie

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

#20

Bobby

Bobby

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

#21

Maria

Maria

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

#22

Matt And Brian

Matt And Brian

Matt shoots Brian in the neck in front of the McPherson Square Library on Kensington Avenue. It's 10 AM on Sunday morning.

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

#23

Nichol

Nichol

"I don’t really ask people for a lot, I get my money, like I don’t like to, cause a lot of times to get people to take care of you, you have to lie to them. And then lead them on and make them think that you're gonna get clean. And then, and then it ends up getting to be too much, where they’re trying to control what you do. And I’d rather just get the money and end it at that with no strings attached cause I don’t need someone following me around, trying to track me down like, trying to drop me off at rehabs and shit."

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

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#24

Ashley

Ashley

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

#25

Diana With Her Kids

Diana With Her Kids

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

#26

Scrappers

Scrappers

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

#27

Marion

Marion

"I went into rehab, for, like, snorting cocaine, taking oxies, perks, and I met people that did dope and smoked crack, and, you know, like, one thing led to another, and I was just, I was, I wanted to try it, and I did."

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

#28

Woman On East Sterner Street

Woman On East Sterner Street

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

#29

Edward

Edward

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

#30

Crystal

Crystal

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

#31

Unknown

Unknown

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

#32

Dalmata

Dalmata

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

#33

Eric Kyle

Eric Kyle

"What I’m doing I really don’t particularly care to be doing, but I do it anyway, and I’m not ashamed of it 'cause if I was ashamed of it, I wouldn’t do it....Until I decide to change it’s what I’m gonna do. Hopefully, like, the will of God...will make me strong enough and give me the determination to stop and get some help."

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

Pamela Moore
Community Member
2 years ago

In an9ther city, I was the same. Finally with the grace of God I got straight, 15 years now. Praise God!

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#34

Bobby

Bobby

"I sold a lot of drugs and was involved with a lot of like, stuff that had to do with shooting guns and all. Most of it was uh selling drugs and collecting money that was owed to me and it caused me getting into a lot of trouble."

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

#35

Christina

Christina

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

#36

Nancy

Nancy

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

#37

Nancy

Nancy

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

#38

Alex

Alex

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

#39

Christian

Christian

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

#40

Jose

Jose

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

#41

A Woman Stands On Kensington Ave

A Woman Stands On Kensington Ave

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

#42

Lauren

Lauren

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

#43

Paul (Left) And Anthony (Right), In The Courtyard At The Last Stop Recovery House

Paul (Left) And Anthony (Right), In The Courtyard At The Last Stop Recovery House

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report

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#44

Jennette

Jennette

Jeffrey Stockbridge Report