33 high school students took photos to capture the everyday reality of living in North Philadelphia, where the poverty rate is 40% and life expectancy is 20 years shorter

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Jeran, who's 18, said he wanted to highlight problems like the lack of healthy food in his community and the prevalence of abandoned buildings.

Jeran, who's 18, said he wanted to highlight problems like the lack of healthy food in his community and the prevalence of abandoned buildings.

"I looked for things that affect us in a way that people don't really think about," he said in an interview.

Another theme that came up a lot in the photos was drug use, Dafilou said. This picture shows used needles in a storm drain.

Another theme that came up a lot in the photos was drug use, Dafilou said. This picture shows used needles in a storm drain.

Here's the caption written by the student who took the picture:

"It's bad for the community because there are always kids running around. My quote means that there be kids playing around and they can fall and get cut from the needle and get sick. Also there's more in the sewers and that's a health issue because the water gets polluted by whatever in the needle."

Felipe wanted to make sure I knew that there was much more to his city than the images of trash, needles and homelessness.

Felipe wanted to make sure I knew that there was much more to his city than the images of trash, needles and homelessness.

"Some community members in Philadelphia actually do get together," he told me. "They do try to control the drugs and stuff, to make a better environment for the children."

This photo that he took is titled "The sky is not the limit."

You can see more of the students' photos below, with titles and captions written by the students. This one is titled "My city no matter how it looks."

You can see more of the students' photos below, with titles and captions written by the students. This one is titled "My city no matter how it looks."

"This was the very first picture I took. This picture came out nice so I wanted to take more pictures of my city and show people what it looks like when I go out of state and see friends and family. I can show them how my city looks and then I can go out and take pictures of their city and show my friends and family how it looks out there. I took this picture looking out of my brother's window. I liked how the city in the background looks. There is trash next to the street in peoples backyards. People come and go through the bags and the trash goes everywhere. Down where the buildings and stuff is at there is not a lot of trash. There are people who clean it up. Nobody wants to clean it here."

A Dangerous Walk

A Dangerous Walk

"People just don't care about nature. It just makes things worse with diseases, drugs, and needles. Last time I found a shot with blood on it. It makes me sick and makes me feel scared. Somebody could have killed themselves. When I showed my mom and she told me to be careful because it could be something bad. It could be a weapon or there could be a gun…My mom takes me to my program and we take this street every time and nothing changes. Everyone should just try to recycle. We put up signs that say recycle but they just keep throwing the trash down because they are lazy. No one cares about this planet, but we might need it."

Alley of Creativity

Alley of Creativity

"In this photograph I wanted to establish how a creepy alley can become ones creative outlet. I also wanted to establish how being able to express yourself allows you to have a healthy state of mind as opposed to doing drugs or something else that can become harmful to yourself or to the people in your environment. Having a healthy state of mind allows one to be themselves and allows them to be more creative."

Community Destruction

Community Destruction

"Leaving trash around the community makes us look like we don't love our community. My quote means that people just dump trash anywhere. People who just visit probably be disgusted."

Home!

Home!

"In this photograph I wanted to establish how in the area of Kensington, poverty and drug abuse is a real issue... This photograph establishes how drugs can effect you in a negative way and can harm one's health."

Wall Art

Wall Art

"This image is very important to me as I grow up seeing this wall art as it was the first time i ever really experience and acknowledging that grafiti can be used for beautiful art and not just to mark territories.

"The ways in which this wall helps the community is by either restoring it or just even have other artist come and add their part to the broken and torn apart section of the wall art.

"Now it doesn't have to be a whole remodel of the wall to a exact replica but by introducing new artist to this wall then personally i would think it would be better because it would be a very refreshing art especially to the community.

"This would help out the community/Neighborhood by making sure that they do not feel like if there is a bland in their neighborhood or just a colorless environment. By making sure that the community feel like if their community is not so colorless and bland then we can be able to give them at least pride that the neighborhood and community that their in even though it's not the best, is unique and has personality.

"This is important as many people would feel like they have been betrayed and living in a area in which is dirty and violent would mostly give you a small but yet important relief that their can be something as beautiful in the area."

Neglect

Neglect

"In this picture I was walking by and noticed tons of trash at the bottom of my feet. So I took a picture of it. I have been walking this way for a long time because it's my route for work. It's been like this without anyone doing anything about it."

Overwhelming

Overwhelming

"The cop cars and the big truck are such a big presence in the neighborhood. The cars are always there and are an eye sore because I have to walk by them every day. The cops want to see if the people come back or not."

Parking Lot

Parking Lot

"There are frequently kids running around near a dangerous building. I feel like people do not care about me or my neighborhood because no one is trying to fix the empty lot. The abandoned building allows people to enter and cause trouble."

Save the Neighborhood

Save the Neighborhood

"Pollution is in the way of my life. My neighborhood is very badly polluted with too much trash and it smells. People see that and think it's a bad place to live. Needs a lot of people to clean up the area. To make this place clean, we would need to put out garbage cans and also put out cameras to watch everything that's happening."

Secret Garden

Secret Garden

"This picture shows when I went to a flower festival. It was my first time being there, and it was fun and relaxing to watch those beautiful flower designs that they made. Sometimes when I'm home, I lay in my bed and pretend I am sleeping on flowers, like in the secret garden. I don't feel like I am overthinking and it helps me be calm. Sometimes I want to stay in the flower bed all day."

The Memorial

The Memorial

"This picture is kind of sad because this shows that a lot of people are dying in the streets sometimes just for being there at the wrong time. The thing I feel we should change is people should be more strict about who they are giving guns to."

The Public Garden

The Public Garden

"This public garden is a prime example of how the environment is now. Citizens are adding more gardens but not caring for them. Gardens are important because plants give us oxygen for the environment."

Inspired

Inspired

"This picture is inspiring because the lights and the color of the sky can make somebody smile. I chose this picture because the day I took it I was actually having a bad day. When I saw this canvas it actually made me smile and made my day better. There was a nice breeze that night. The type of breeze that you can take a deep breath."

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