“Supreme saw me taking pictures and asked to be photographed with his dog Obama (yes Obama). I asked him why he was giving the camera the finger, he said 'Thats for people judging who I am.' I said 'Who are you?' He said 'A doped up junkie.'”
So goes Photographer Chris Arnade's narrative accompanying this photo, “Supreme and Obama,” in his moving series, “Faces of Addiction.”
Through images and converstations, the series tells stories of people entrenched in addiction in the poverty stricken Hunts Point neighborhood in New York City.
“What I am hoping to do, by allowing my subjects to share their dreams and burdens with the viewer and by photographing them with respect, is to show that everyone, regardless of their station in life, is as valid as anyone else,” Arnade writes in describing the project.
“Its easy to ignore others. By not looking, by not talking to them, we can fall into constructing our own narrative that affirms our limited world view.”
Arnade is lifting the cloak of denial surrounding addiction by putting a human face on it — and then, quite frankly, putting the results in people's faces — is admirable and important work.
Arnade's ability to gain the trust and honesty of his subjects is nothing short of remarkable. And as for those subjects? Their participation embodies courage.
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You will not be disappointed.