Pulse: A&E: Local Talent: Sarah Stolfa

A few years ago, photographer Sarah Stolfa was stumped. Between her job at McGlinchey’s Bar & Grill and her classes at Drexel, she was too busy to figure out what her next project would be. “I was talking to my professor, Stuart Rome, and I was like, ‘All my life is right now is work and school and my boyfriend.’” So Rome started suggesting ideas: “You could photograph couples, you could do photography at work,” he told her. “And I was, ‘Oh, photograph at work, that’s a good idea.’”

The result of that conversation is an affecting series of portraits of McGlinchey’s patrons that avoids caricature or cliché. “At first, it was just about my night at the bar,” says Stolfa. “But as it evolved, it became something else, about people being alone, why they’re alone, why they come to the bar.”

The photos have garnered Stolfa no small amount of attention, especially after she won the 2004 New York Times Photography Contest for College Students. And though she has temporarily decamped to Yale (she swears she’s coming back to Philly when she’s done with her MFA), the completed series — appropriately titled The Regulars — will be at Center City’s ­Gallery 339 through November 11th.