From June 2008 to present I documented my mother, father, sister and five year old niece, who all reside in a one-bed room apartment in Baltimore Maryland. The decision to document them came from a deep desire to understand from where, and who I come from. For the past ten years, I have been numb to my families’ lifestyle, accustomed to their downward spiral of addiction, poverty, unemployment, imprisonment and depression. I longed to see their humanity.
The camera allowed me the safety of distance to look into the eyes of each family member and have a moment, a connection. I finally felt and saw the power of subjectivity. In the end I understood a mother’s strength, a father’s regret, a sister’s beauty and a little girls’ fearlessness. All together it added up to a families’ will to survive.
In this work I use color and environment to connect the individual members in my family. Their alcoholism, depression and routine of living day to day with no real plans of the future, leaves them little time for healthy communication. I am searching for moments where visual evidence of communication and emotional awareness fill in a missing link, exposed when two photographs fall in a sequence that bring new insights to light.
This work was never about poverty or substance abuse. Through their portraits, I was able to witness their complexity and internal struggles. I witnessed moments of compassion and vulnerability, which are in a constant state of motion and always shifting with their self destruction and disassociation. But the idea of family and my family specifically, is permanent.
The unconscious lets time pass by
The conscious borrows time with shifty eyes and callused hands
Making a certain choice between the will to remember
And the relief in forgetting