“Faces of Addiction”

The stories that rid the stereotypes.

Take a walk down Wall Street and you will see The New York Stock Exchange, and over-caffeinated men and women speedily making their way to work and skyscrapers galore. The life of a New Yorker. The life Chris Arnade once lived.

Chris Arnade is a photographer who graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a PhD in Physics. He worked as a trader on Wall Street for 20 years before giving up his career to spend his time on photography.

Arnade is working on an online photo series that can be found on Flickr.com, entitled “Faces of Addiction.” It focuses on people suffering from addiction in the South Bronx. He photographs these people and tells the stories that our society chooses to neglect. He then posts them online with captions beneath their photo.

His series puts faces to issues that most of us stereotype. His photography exposes lives rampant with drugs, rape and prostitution from young ages. The photographs speak volumes on addiction and its impact on poor communities. Here are some examples of victims:

Michael, also known as Shelley: https://www.flickr.com/photos/arnade/7857266704/in/set-72157627894114489/

He grew up with an abusive, drugged out father and has been living in Hunts Point for 20 years ever since he was molested at 15 and his parents blamed it on him being gay.

Sonya and Eric: https://www.flickr.com/photos/arnade/8366362996/in/set-72157627894114489

A couple highly addicted to heroin and constantly torn apart by the law but very in love.

Takeesha: https://www.flickr.com/photos/arnade/6549364285/in/set-72157627894114489

She is a constant figure within the “Faces of Addiction” series. She is a prostitute who was forced by her mother to sell her body from the age of 11. She is a mother of six and an addict.

These people are just a few of the hundreds in The South Bronx plagued by addiction. Their pictures and stories rid us of our stereotypes on addicts, prostitutes and those living in poverty. They put faces to serious issues plaguing our society, and cause us to sympathize and understand why they have lived their lives the way they have.

These stories put addiction into perspective and show society why addiction is not a simple thing to beat. They show us how it can be driven into people from such a young age. “Faces of Addiction” forces us to look at the darker side of our society and deal with it. Everyone should take a few minutes out of their day to explore this series as well as the rest of Arnade’s work. It is heart-wrenching, educational and powerful. It will open up your mind and hopefully help you to understand addiction in a way that you never would have imagined.


All photos are used with the permission of Chris Arnade.