Welcome to Philadelphia, DNC

Story highlights

  • Photographer Alex Webb recently spent a couple of days in Philadelphia
  • The city will host the Democratic National Convention from July 25 to July 28

(CNN)After spending a week in Cleveland, photographer Alex Webb visited the next city that will be the focus of national politics this month -- Philadelphia.

He spent two days in the historic city, snapping almost 4,000 photographs of its rich culture and diversity.
    Philadelphia is the fifth-most populated city in the United States -- at an estimated population of 1.5 million -- and diverse, with 44% of the population identifying as black or African-American. The Northeastern city is also home to several universities, and it is considered the economic center of Pennsylvania.
    Webb said he spent most of his time downtown, the area surrounding downtown, and North Philadelphia.
    The city was prepping for the Democratic National Convention, with donkey statues, DNC signs and other related items around the downtown area, Webb said.
    Photographer Alex Webb
    "There's a presence in Philadelphia compared to how it was in Cleveland," he said. "There's more of an actual presence of stuff in the street."
    Webb also took a photo of Black Lives Matter protests that were happening outside City Hall, where there were about 25 protesters gathered and 10 police officers watching over the scene.
    "Cars were passing by and they were facing cars," he said. "There was a fellow not in the picture on a megaphone that was carrying on a narrative, sometimes poking fun at the cops, sometimes talking about some of the issues."
    Webb, who was born in San Francisco but raised on the East Coast, has been photographing for 42 years -- longer if you count his years before becoming professional.
    His favorite photo from Philadelphia is a mural inside a boxing gym called the Rock Ministries, a Christian boxing club in the Kensington section of North Philadelphia where young disadvantaged kids come to box and practice martial arts for free.

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    "Needless to say, it reminded me of Philadelphia boxing lore: from Joe Frazier to 'Rocky,' " he said. "The gym, on a street teeming with strung-out drug users, seems to resonate with those classic boxing myths about the road from poverty to success through one's fists."
    He said the boxing gym impressed him.
    "I'm always moved by the singular efforts of people in struggling neighborhoods to help those in their community," he said. "The boxing gym felt like a safe haven in a very troubled world. Kids of all ages came to the gym, the youngest simply to hang out, the older ones to box."