Prince: Hunts Point, Bronx

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    In the awful weather, a windy cold rain, Prince was pulling an old air conditioner down the dark street. Homeless since being released from jail (two and half years for dealing), he spends the night collecting scrap metal and old pallets that he cashes in before sunrise. He uses the money mostly for heroin, an addiction that has landed him in prison three times.

    From the Virgin Islands but raised in the Bronx, he is the oldest of seventeen children. He was molested by a neighbor as a child, something he is only now understanding.

    Despite the weather and his condition, he was upbeat, polite, and engaging. When I asked him how he wanted to be described he said "Don't just talk about the bad stuff. I graduated from High School and plan on finishing college."

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    1. BlueisCoool 28 months ago | reply

      Very good capture and story !

    2. Stéphane Missier 28 months ago | reply

      reflection on the street is beautiful!

    3. stevenbley 28 months ago | reply

      incredible portrait and story. I hope he can make it in this world.

    4. Sean P. Sweeney 28 months ago | reply

      This is a fantastic capture. As someone who lives in NYC I have seen this scenario played out numerous times. You took a sad situation and created art. Thanks for sharing it with the Flickr world. We have opposing ends of the financial spectrum in this city. Well done

    5. lefiligree 28 months ago | reply

      i get what you're saying...we dont have anything like that in anchorage for addiction recovery, adolescent use of drugs and alcohol is at or above the national average and our rate of sexual assault on children is 6x the national average so i often feel we arent providing enough for recovery. Do you think NYC provides a good model of support, from your experience?

    6. Chris Arnade 28 months ago | reply


      I do think NY does a good job relative to the rest of the country. Although the bureaucracy sometimes makes things worst rather than better.

      I do agree that in the end it comes down to the addict deciding to get help, but a good network and program can very much help in that.

      Most everyone I know who is an addict has immense inherited pain, usually from their childhood. That is where more resources needs to be spent.

      These neighborhoods are amazingly rough to grow up in, with so many awful influences. Thats why I work with programs like the Hunts Point Alliance for Children. To try and help before they fall into the trap.

    7. armed with aesthetics 28 months ago | reply

      it kills me to think of folks like him who are fighting the demons of their past so intensely - things that happened when they were so young. it must be an immense struggle to be hopeful in such circumstances. perhaps knowing that you are being seen and heard by someone like you ultimately helps.

    8. GHOSTFACE-FVK!! [deleted] 28 months ago | reply

      chasing his tail

    9. pexy 28 months ago | reply

      jesus, what a life. when are people going to learn that throwing addicts in prison doesn't fucking work?

      great shot though, A harrowing story but there is a lot of life and color in this.

    10. Casiyety 28 months ago | reply

      Hola chris soy de España y acabo de venir de Nueva York,que pena haberte visto hoy por primera vez,por que si te llego a ver antes de mi viaje ,fijo que te hubiera llamado para estar a tu lado haciendo este tipo de foto que no he hecho apenas, es digna de mi admiración y apartir de ahora intentaré seguirte más .
      ENHORABUENA por tu galería

    11. Dj Poe 27 months ago | reply

      I looked at this shot a bunch of times and never left a comment. I think I'm still speechless...

    12. Chris Arnade 27 months ago | reply

      Muchas gracias. La próxima vez tienes que enviar un correo electrónico primero

    13. Chris Arnade 27 months ago | reply

      Thanks. Prince is a very strong character who is stuck in an ugly trap. Lets hope he can escape

    14. Chris JL 26 months ago | reply

      Your Bronx series is excellent.

    15. 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

    16. Trazor Bones 26 months ago | reply

      amazing photo. I admire your work. really inspiring

    17. Sandra Saquero 24 months ago | reply

      Excelent shot, love the light and the mood, the colours on the back are beautiful and very contrasting with the subject and at the same time they are all part of one scene. Well done!

    18. ope86 19 months ago | reply

      To me this story sounds like a result of typical american republican policy. How can you let someone just being released from prison straight out to the street? How do you expect that person to get up on his feet again if he doesn't even get a place to live? I'm not justifying what he did, just saying that you can't expect that this man would change his life into a better direction and not to commit more crimes if he doesn't get a proper new start in life. Some of you talk about making that decision to get help, but is that help too expensive for someone who doesn't have a job? I don't know since I am not american. But without a place to live you cant even get any welfare. I have this feeling that the american politicians very oft represent this kind of thinking, that you have to build your own life all by yourself. And even when you're really down in the bottom you have to get up all by yourself without any help from society.

    19. spoonleg 15 months ago | reply

      This photo is one of my favorites. Despite his abusive past, despite his current desperate condition, despite having to drag an old air conditioner through freezing rain at night for a couple bucks, the expression on his face is... I don't even know. Hopeful? Content? Peaceful?
      All I know is, I found myself smiling back at the young man in the photo, rather than feeling the pit of my stomach sink to the floor with overwhelming sadness, as I often do with these very real portraits. Prince's photo somehow speaks to me on a different level. I hope to see more of him. More than that, I hope the very best for him, that his situation will improve. His expression tells me that he has not yet given up or given in, as many others in your series seem to have.

      I know you receive a lot of flack for your photo series being potentially "exploitative." I couldn't disagree more. Not only is it obvious that you CARE about the subjects of your work (the art wouldn't be nearly as strong otherwise), but I know that you struggle daily with "helping" them in whatever way you are able- be it food, clothing, money, shelter, cat care, etc. But ultimately, these moments, and many more sad and heart-wrenching moments just like it in addicts' lives across the world, would STILL HAPPEN whether you were there to photograph it or not. You being there doesn't change the circumstance, the moment. You being there doesn't make the moment any better or any worse. But you being there provides the opportunity to document it, to share it, to educate people, to share these stories with the world. And maybe, just maybe, these photos will touch some of us enough to compel us to get out there and do something with, for or about the addicts within our own community. Your work gives a name, face, and element of humanity to terms that we all are familiar with, but none of us really KNOW: addicts, homeless, prostitutes. They are actual people, THESE people. The moments captured here would still happen with or without you there to photograph them, and I think any of us who have viewed your work can say that missing out on these touching moments would have been a real tragedy.

    20. Chris Arnade 15 months ago | reply

      Thanks so much.
      I am spending more time with my subjects. You can follow it on my facebook feed (chris arnade photography) where I post writings and photos.

      Thanks again. No matter what one does someone will post negative comments about it. Just a reality of internet.

      Thanks again. I try to do my tiny part to change the narrative and allow the subjects to have a platform, a small one, to tell their story.

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