Sports photographer Alex McIntyre creates powerful social distancing message


Not having sports for such a significant amount of time is something new for many fans. Beautiful weather in May often means enjoying a day at the ballpark with a Phillies game, hopping off Septa and walking to Wells Fargo Center for some Flyers and Sixers playoff action, and simply soaking up time with friends and family. 

Adapting to such things has been an ongoing process for us all since the second week of March — and with so much uncertainty and unknown — there’s a feeling of emptiness that used to be filled with sporting events. 

Photographer Alex McIntyre shot her last game before the sports world came to a halt on March 7 and has been missing the craft ever since. She wanted to come up with a concept that told a story and conveyed a message that would resonate with sports fans — and she did just that. 

After spending a significant amount of time drawing up ideas, she finally found the path she wanted to head down. With little details, she tweeted this message out to get others involved: 

Philly fans already loved the idea — sharing some of their favorite memories outside of the stadiums. Little did they know, they were about to be a part of telling a powerful message about social distancing during these difficult times. 


McIntyre collected the images that were shared and tracked down the locations — photographing the same exact spots, only barren. No games, no fans, no music, no joy … and placed the two side by side. The results became some of her finest work. 


Along with the photo set, she shared this message to her followers: 

There’s an infamous quote that reads, “Home is where the heart is.” For most sport-loving Philadelphians, “The heart,” sits at Broad and Pattinson: The Philadelphia Sports Complex. Given the current state of the world, something we hold so close has been put to a stop: sports. With this, an age-old, year-round tradition is prohibited thus leaving a void within us. However, working together is the only way to bring it back. 

Through sports, we gather and connect. We create life long friendships and relationship; we create memories that last a lifetime. However, no one’s life is guaranteed. By doing our part in this pandemic, we can try to preserve that for those at a higher risk. I wanted to create this to demonstrate some of our favorite memories and illustrate the void within us. Memories that we’d love to continue creating. I wanted to promote social distancing and show exactly what is missed if people continue to ignore CDC guidelines. 

So thank you again to those who submitted [their pictures]. Together, we create a community and we create memories. But together, we can also do our part to return to normalcy. Remember how you felt in each of your memories. Think about that day and the moment the photo was taken … How do these days differ? Think about your favorite times and the people you’ve met, adventures you’ve had, days you love to (or may not even slightly) remember. 

I urge your to put your passion for this city and these teams into following guidelines put forth for our safety as a whole. We are a family. We are friends. We are a community. We are Philly.

“The goal was to fuse my need to create combined with the emotions I was feeling,” McIntyre said. “Philly is full of heart, so pulling the emotional strings seemed like the best way to make them hear me.”

They say a picture is worth a thousand words — and somehow, while these tell such a strong message, we are left speechless at the same time. 

All images in this post are credited to Alex McIntyre, Aaron Talasnik, Colin Kerrigan and Philadelphia sports Twitter. You can view the complete set of photos here

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