Clarence: Hunts Point, Bronx

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    The "Brickyard" is a vacant lot on an otherwise industrial side street in Hunts Point. Its where many of the local addicts spend their time, gossiping and smoking. They bring their carts filled with what they can collect to sell to the adjacent scrap metal shops.

    Its where I found Clarence, who has lived for fourty years in Hunts Point since moving from North Carolina as a teenager.

    I spoke with Clarence, a former truck driver, for a long time. He told me all that his addiction has wrought: job loss, homelessness, health problems. Never once did he sound angry, bitter, or depressed.

    globetrottingpaul, Farlakes, and 113 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    View 18 more comments

    1. phrenzel 30 months ago | reply

      top notch portraiture, expressive eyes, I'll bet they have witnessed a great deal over the years

    2. UrbanphotoZ 30 months ago | reply

      Just a great "as is" / "as I am" portrait.

    3. lefiligree 30 months ago | reply

      as a viewer of your portraits i'm always asking Who do they belong to.even though i know there arent always roots. i guess thats the power of your images: they leave questions in the mind

    4. vBESSnyc 30 months ago | reply

      Hardknocklife!

    5. ► vino' 30 months ago | reply

      great portrait !!!

    6. william.gold 30 months ago | reply

      Your photostream is so real - love it.

    7. Frank Fullard 30 months ago | reply

      This is superb!

    8. BlueisCoool 29 months ago | reply

      Very nice work - congrats !

    9. rockwell11 26 months ago | reply

      interesting but at the end of the day isn't this still just exploitation? sure the print profits going to charity are like a 'get out of jail free' card, but still . . maybe the print profits being used to put food hampers actually into the addict's arms could be a better solution, delivered by the photographer? wouldn't something along those lines be more ethically watertight? i think so.
      no offence but at the end of the day despite the charity prints what i see here is a photographer making a name for himself by exploiting these addicts.

      if anyone would like to respond directly to me regards this comment please do at jayrockwell33@yahoo.com

    10. Catapillarsmoke 26 months ago | reply

      rockwell11, your an imbecile.

    11. Catapillarsmoke 26 months ago | reply

      i wasn't going to waste my time but the above statement by rockwell11 is so ignorant and insulting to a very talented and compassionate photographer as to be patently offensive to anyone with even a single brain cell (and its interesting, done with a bogus account which shows a streak of cowardice.)
      This is a portrait of a man that most in our society would shun, avert their eyes from, and ignore, even demonize, they would consider him ugly or disgusting, but Chris has created an image of him that shows he is a human being and forced us to look into is eyes and not ignore him, confronting us with his humanity in a respectful and compassionate way that is obviously beyond your shallow pseudo-liberal college text book view of the world. Very simply, your a self righteous a$$hole.
      ...and to Chris..this is one of the finest portraits Ive ever seen in 30+ years of studying photography. You have shown this man's humanity and even beauty, despite whatever his faults and weaknesses may be.

    12. Trazor Bones 26 months ago | reply

      amazing photo!

    13. h2oo21 26 months ago | reply

      Damn, I cry when I look these pictures and read these stories. I work for YAD Youth Against Drugs organisation in Finland and one of our goals is reduce fears and anxiety towards drug addicted people. We have to remember that everyone has human rights and every addicted person has also history and reasons why he did start using and why he become addicted. These pictures and stories tell us all that addicted people are just ordinary guys who have dreams and lives. Life just have been very rough to them. Of course they all have at some point "let it go" and they have choosed to use drugs or what-so-ever. But still they are not dummies or anything like that... and these pictures tell it very well.

    14. Gracenhappens 25 months ago | reply

      As an addiction therapist working with these clients for 14 years, I totally agree with rockwell. This is exploiting them in their darkest hour. I believe this was meant to create awareness and in the best intentions yet what these people need is action...they need someone to take them by the hand and walk with them to get support. To listen to them and not just take a photo and leave but to remain there throughout the healing process and snap a photo of them healthy, their true selves with spark behind their eyes. Where are the proceeds going? Everyone in these pictures should get funding to go get help if they choose and be coached until they are ready.

    15. UrbanphotoZ 25 months ago | reply

      It's hard and wonderful work that you do, and I have no intention of disparaging it.
      I don't think that Chris has set out to cure these people of their addiction, nor has he presented himself as such. Not that he wouldn't like to, but I suspect that he too understands the level of effort required.
      At the same time, I cannot agree with those who seem to think of him as exploitative or a profiteer. We have never met or spoken, but I see him as a curious and humane person. He originally came to Hunts Point as a volunteer for a children's program. Whether he still volunteers there, I don't know. He has posted not only pictures of addicts and hookers, but of young people, pigeon keepers and Schwinn bike fanatics among others. I find that he offers a humanizing touch to those who many of us would prefer to ignore or stereotype, and whose humanity we would easily deny. As such, I think he performs a valuable service, even if it is not directly to the subjects of his photos. I also think that there is something conveyed to his subjects by the facts that he treats them with dignity, listens to what they have to say, and keeps his promises to return with prints. It's possible that they see him as a mark, or someone to con, but I think it communicates something. Is it the connection that will get them off drugs? I doubt it. It takes a lot more than that. But can it serve as an influence, a motivation? That certainly seems possible to me, certainly in some instances.
      As for money, I don't know that Chris makes any from his efforts. I haven't seen anything to suggest it, but if he does, then you ought to find out what he does with it before launching into your criticism. As I understand, he has a day job quite unrelated to either photography or social work and it pays quite well. Photography is far more often a cash drain than a source of income, and one can hardly spend the amount of time that it requires out of anything but love of what you're doing. You should at least get the facts before calling him exploitative or suggesting how he should use the "proceeds" from his work.

    16. logatfer 25 months ago | reply

      Impressive portrait... stunning!

    17. kirk lau 25 months ago | reply

      very impressive series.
      they are just... AMAZING!
      came across this from Chase's blog.
      Just curious. How do you go approach them. I mean... where to start? would be nice if you can share some of your experience and approaches on how to start.

    18. Don't stay quiet 25 months ago | reply

      This is amazing. I love all these portraits.

    19. Pippiful 23 months ago | reply

      This is wonderful and impressive. His eyes talk about reality.

    20. The Ground 20 months ago | reply

      great portrait, really interesting photographer

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