Retired photojournalist creates book highlighting public art in Philadelphia to benefit Parkinson's research

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- If you're looking for a unique gift this holiday season, a retired photojournalist has put together a book that highlights treasured art throughout the city of brotherly love, and he's donating the proceeds to a cause that's become very personal to him.

Ed Hille's career as a photojournalist has taken him around the globe.

"I'd been through assignments on five continents," said Hille. "I was nominated a few times for the Pulitzer."

Hille was hired by the Philadelphia Inquirer in December of 1984. He started on the job in January of 1985, which proved to be a big year with many historic events.

"The MOVE incident happened in May. Live Aid was in July," he recalled.

Hille covered many big stories in the nearly 33 years he spent as a photojournalist at the Philadelphia Inquirer before retiring in 2017, one year after being diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease.

After his retirement, he says he was looking for something to do.

"I thought I'd do a little project on public art in Philadelphia," said Hille.

He compiled his photos into his first book called, "In Plain Sight: Public Art in Philadelphia." It includes pictures of the Octavius V. Catto monument at City Hall, iconic Love Park, as well as many other murals and statues around the city.

"Public art forms sort of a backdrop for life," explained Hille. "Some of them are famous around the world and people come here as a destination to see them."

One popular location for photos in the city is the Rocky statue located at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Others, like 'Sea Monsters HERE,' the image he chose for the cover of his book, were temporary installations in Philadelphia. That photograph was taken at the Navy Yard in 2018.

Over 40 murals and statues are featured in the book, along with real people.

"I didn't want to just photograph things, I wanted to connect them to life in the city," said Hille. "I really wanted to include people in every picture."

Another famous mural featured in the book is Keith Haring's 'We the Youth,' located in the Point Breeze neighborhood of Philadelphia.

"The two kids on bikes just seemed to emulate being on the wall and off the wall," explained Hille.

In order to have people in every photograph, Hille says he had to get creative. He took the Joan of Arc photo from a tour bus.

"All of this art is in plain sight," says Hille. "That's something that Philadelphia can be proud of."

And all proceeds from the book will go towards Parkinson's research.

Hille says this was a wonderful project for him to work on in retirement.

"I wanted to be able to give back," said Hille. "It's a tribute to the city."

Hill's book, "In Plain Sight: Public Art in Philadelphia," is published by Camino Books. It is also available to purchase on Amazon.

For more information:

Ed Hille Photography
Camino Books: In Plain Sight: Public Art in Philadelphia
Amazon: In Plain Sight: Public Art in Philadelphia by Ed Hille
Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.