Today I want to show you one of my favourite photographers I have had the opportunity of finding on flickr: Chris Arnade. I usually like to keep my posts positive and light-hearted but what this man does is too amazing not to share. His work really has me believe that my life is truly blessed compared to what these people have to endure. I hope sharing with you his beautiful photography will have you thankful for your life as well.
Chris Arnade isn't your typical street photographer. He is a previous wall street trader with a PhD in Physics and has left that previous life to pursue story-telling of the harsh realities of living and addiction in the ghettos of New York.
I myself coming straight from a suburban, conservative border-line sheltered community, I have not the slightest clue the extremities these people have to endure everyday just to get by. I have been fortunate enough to live a blessed life and I in no way have the right to judge anybody else's story. A photograph can say a 1000 words and you can truly sympathize with these people just by staring into their eyes. Some of these stories are truly heartbreaking; I have come to tears in many. He also follows closely to a few residents in these communities where you become deeply sympathetic to their personal conditions. Many of the people featured have drug addictions, sexually transmitted diseases are homeless etc., My personal favourite photo stream set of is The Transexuals of Queens. This set focuses on the night-life of transexuals on the streets of Jackson Heights, Queens, New York. My favourite person to follow in his photos is this beautiful woman named Egypt.
This photograph is titled Egypt in rain: Hunts Point, Bronx
The background story Chris Arnade provides:
Egypt was cold, tired, and hungry. She stood disoriented in the rain, her hand clutched hard a few dimes she had begged.
“I kicked my husband out. Now I got to worry. He racked up all these debts with dealers. The niggers want to collect from me. I am cutting him off. He can’t buy on my name no more.”
We moved inside a deli to buy her a sandwich. She ate it in my car, shivering. “Only time he comes to me is when he is dope sick, for me to suck some dick, for me to cop him some drugs. I say to him, ‘Why don’t you suck dick? Why don’t you sell your ass? Hell, let men fuck you.’ I am sick of it. Sick of getting beat by him.”
“My mother died in 2002, Dec 23rd. Anniversary is soon. Heroin overdose. My dad? Don’t care. Hopes he rots in hell. Started raping me when I was three. Did my mom know? Not about him. She knew about my uncle and cousin. They did the same.”
I asked her, has a man in your life ever treated you right, ever not beat or raped you? She looked down at her sandwich, her face blank. “Yes. One has. God.”
I myself am not an extremely religious person or follow any organized religion but I do clarify myself as a spiritual person. This story of Egypt and what she has had to overcome in her life is tremendous. The fact that this woman has any faith in anything at all is truly remarkable. A beautiful and strong woman is an understatement.
Thanks to Chris Arnade for sharing with the world the true realities of their life. I hope his work helps society think twice about judging the lives of others.