Monday, May 25, 2015

Looking Back

Revisiting a Homeless Life

Looking Back

Revisiting a life on the Streets Video: Revisiting a life on the Streets

The new year is traditionally a time for looking back. For Karen Webb, the subject of a front page story today by Inquirer Staff Writer Jennifer Lin, it means looking way back - not just in time, but in circumstances.

Three years ago, at age 46, Karen was a fixture on East Market Street, across from the federal courthouse, right next to the Dunkin' Donuts.

She would sit on the sidewalk and panhandle with a cup, a sign - "Homeless and hungry" - and her dog, Kenya.

With the hindsight of sobriety, she sees that much of the mess of the last five years was the result of her choices.

We walked with her as she revisited some of the areas she used to inhabit.

Click here for the story, and a video is below.

Inquirer Staff Photographer
About this blog

Tom Gralish is a general assignment photographer at The Inquirer, concentrating on local news and self-generated feature photos.

He has been at the paper since 1983, photographing everything from revolution in the Philippines to George W. Bush’s road to the White House to homeless people living on the street right outside his newspaper's front door. For his photo essay on Philadelphia’s homeless, he was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize and the Robert F. Kennedy Award.

His weekly newspaper column, "Scene Through the Lens," takes a look at Philadelphia's urban landscape.

Gralish, along with Inquirer colleague and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Michael Vitez, spent a year visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art to capture the stories and photos of "Rocky runners" who come from all over the world to climb the steps - just as Sylvester Stallone did in the Academy Award winning film, Rocky. Their book, Rocky Stories: Tales of Love, Hope and Happiness at America’s Most Famous Steps, was published in November 2006.

Reach Tom at

Tom Gralish Inquirer Staff Photographer
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