LOVE follows the last generation of LOVE Park inhabitants and reveals life as it was within this notorious urban plaza. The images, gathered over a three-year span, tell the story of a deeply rooted community shadowed by a police state and a biased city government. Ultimately the victim of urban revitalization, the park closed in February 2016 for a $16 million complete renovation. But the diehard locals refused to leave, continuing to skate the plaza even as it turned to rubble. In the end, LOVE is a narrative about loss.
LOVE Park (1965-2016), also known as John F. Kennedy Plaza, was located in the centre of Philadelphia. Architect Vincent Kling drafted the mid-century urban design, which was then implemented by city planner Edmund Bacon. Although it was not designed for skateboarding, the plaza was host to a wave of skateboarders who first discovered its granite expanses as early as the 1980s. It was raised to global renown in the late ’90s with a surge of media coverage. Today, LOVE Park is remembered as one of the foremost landmarks of street skateboarding.
Jonathan Rentschler’s photo book LOVE now available for pre-order through Paradigm Publishing along with the short film (below) to promote the book documenting the last days of LOVE Park and the destruction of the plaza.