Today’s photo is from Elisa Maple’s 1995 “Drug Abuse within a Family,” a portrait of a mother suffering from addiction and her young son who is growing up amidst an environment of drug abuse.
It is a powerful and disturbing story of a home where a young child sees a crack pipe as a toy and his mother screams at drug dealers in the living room and smokes crack in the kitchen. Elisa tells us that Social Services knew of the situation but never did anything to stop it. Justin’s older sister had been removed from the home and placed with her grandmother. However, Justin remained.
When she submitted the project, Elisa told us, “As I now look back on this project, I see the tragedy in the potential loss of a person to his/ her environment. With Justin there was a gentleness and sensitivity that was beautiful, although he was a handful at times, but amazing for the environment that he was being raised in by his drug addicted mother. The combination of violence, drugs, and general disregard for life was overbearing, and still that beauty prevailed in Justin.”
She continued, “When I left, he had started attending a Sunday church group, and was always looking forward to going on Sundays. There were many things that occurred in the apartment that could not be photographed, but they have never left me, and I carry them with me everyday. It is my hope that these images will give you some insight into the beauty and potential of a little boy within a home of drugs and violence, and a cycle that can be broken. “