PhillyChitChat Celebrates 14 Years, Today

Once upon a time I was a paralegal, and it was a very tedious, somewhat boring, thankless job, but despite my ADD I excelled at it as it also took me to far off, exotic locations like Tallahassee, Atlanta, San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis and Detroit to do document production, which is what I’m doing in this photo. That means before scanning documents and AI took over my duties, I would read all these documents and summarize them for attorneys so they could understand the case (a very simplified explanation of the complexities of litigation.)

The last big litigation project I worked on took me to NYC in 2005, where I worked with this crew, and after my 10 -12hr days, I discovered celebrities roaming around the City, and started a blog about their doings. Confessions Of A Paparazzi (today is not that blogs anniversary). It was a fly on the wall account of events leading up to celebs walking the red carpet, as well as who was on the scenes, fans, photographers, people just walking by. The culture of the red carpet. Never documented before, as this was before social media, or even big celebrity blogs. I got noticed by Perez Hilton and Gawker and they would often link to my blog on stories I captured. I still was doing a good job as lead paralegal as I lived in NYC for nearly 2 years working on that case, before it settled, and it was one of the best cases I worked on, very fascinating. Then I returned to Philly.

I continued Confessions of a Paparazzi for a few months, but it just wasn’t capturing what I wanted to do in Philly. My friends Katie & Simon visited over the July 4th weekend. I told them I needed to create another blog, specifically about Philly. I will still keep Confessions, as by this time I became a professional celebrity photographer, but I needed something to define the excitement and growth beginning to happen with Philly. It was my British born friend Simon, who lives in Manhattan who coined the term PhillyChitChat after a brain storming sessions. It was perfect. I could cover lots of topics, not just gossip, but food, lifestyle etc. PhillyChitChat launched 07/07/07, today it’s 14 years old. (Most of the following photos are old school, as the day really crept up on me and I wasn’t prepared)

I wanted to cover events, topics that I knew were happening, but didn’t rise to the level of being covered by the Inquirer or Daily News. I really didn’t know how stories ended up in the news, or anything about public relations people. It would take years for me to realize how everything worked, which was great because I brought my readers with me as I learned the business. There’s a million reasons I started my blog – I wanted to cover the social scene better than I thought the newspaper and magazines were doing. It was easy to accomplish as they were missing so many great people to focus on the most visible, movers and shakers. I wanted to shine a light on everyone. I wanted to help charities, promote the big and small ones. The ones people didn’t know about the most. I wanted to photograph the celebrities who did come to town, so I worked hard to gain peoples trust, even though I purposely called myself a paparazzi. That one term explained to everyone what my intent was, of course over the years as my business model has changed, I cringe when people introduce me that way, especially to celebrities, they cringe too. Call me the social photographer now, if you can remember. But it absolutely helped propel my career by misusing that term. I made sure to make the right connections, and set out to prove myself. It was hard, but easy as I was the only one doing this. So much to say…but I just want to share some photos from the past 14 years.

Hip-hop performer Eve with her parents Julie and Ron Wilch arrive at Thursday night’s new-album promotion party and performance at World Cafe Live. 10/19/2007 INQLINGS21
(In the summer of 2007 I started contributing to Michael Klein’s gossip column at the Inquirer. He also did the food column which is so popular today. His gossip column ceased to exist in 2011)

Often I would find out where the celebrities would be by reading Michael Klein and Dan Gross’ columns as Social Media and blogs were not in existence in 2007. At this time cell phone cameras didn’t exist yet as well.

Cashman & Assoc Holiday Party 2007 – If you could get on the Nicole Cashman list, your world of possibilities was endless. The crème de la crème of class, still today. I quaked in my boots whenever I shot her events, always on my best behavior, never ate or drank, and never ask for autographs from the celebrity guests, or sports stars who always attended her gigs. Mind you I was only shooting for my blog, which was a pet project of mine, something to do after my soul sucking job as a paralegal . It was a hobby until 2011. I only had pro bono charity advertisements on my blog. (BTW I loved my law firm, I just hated the job)

I thank all the people who let me photograph them over the years, but especially Sabrina Tamburino Thorne. I met her a few months after PhillyChitChat launch, and she was dynamic. She was living her best life, in love, her mom equally had a lust for life, and they weren’t shy. It was around this time that Paris Hilton has taken pop culture by storm. People were invested in her life and every doings. I was intrigued by Sabrina’s doings, and I chronicled her life for over a year, it wasn’t hard to do as she popped up in many of the places I was already covering, or would invite me to places. Fun was attracted to Sabrina, and it was an adventure. It took my blog from interesting, to fabulous.

Carol Tamburino in the leopard print

This is one of the teachable moments in my life. Laura had a beer in her hand. I photo shopped it out. Michael Klein (mentor, he’s still there for me today) told me to never alter a photo, as your other photos could be questioned for credibility. He’s right. Nowadays I just ask people to put down their drinks. I just don’t like objects in peoples hands in my photos.


Thanks to Mike Toub who makes all things possible for Philly Chit Chat to exist…..