Friday, February 11, 2011

The Julie Project

Darcy Padilla, the 2010 winner of the W. Eugene Smith Award in Humanistic Photography says this of her subject:

"I first met Julie on February 28, 1993. Julie, 18, stood
in the lobby of the Ambassador Hotel, barefoot, pants
unzipped, and an 8 day-old infant in her arms. She lived
in San Francisco’s SRO district, a neighborhood of soup
kitchens and cheap rooms.....

For the last 18 years I have photographed Julie Baird’s
complex story of multiple homes, AIDS, drug abuse,
abusive relationships, poverty, births, deaths, loss
and reunion. Following Julie from the backstreets of
San Francisco to the backwoods of Alaska."

Her documentation of Julie's life is brutally honest, heartbreaking, and ultimately enlightening. As difficult as it was to look at her photographs, I couldn't look away. It's definitely a hard thing to see, but it will open your heart and mind to those who live their lives with poverty and AIDS.

The Julie Project.


Anonymous said...

I bookmarked The Julie Project so that I can read it when I have more time. I skimmed through some of the pictures, some of the words. The B&W pictures were a good choice given the stark details of this story.

A Novel Woman said...

It's pretty amazing what one can do with one camera and one idea. Very powerful stuff.

Rachel Chesnutt Blasdell said...

Heartbreaking. Just heartbreaking. The images are incredible. Nothing is as honest as a camera.

Lottery Girl said...

Just finished going through the whole thing.

I think Darcy Padilla's gift to Julie was giving her life dignity. Sometimes I get so discouraged about who we are as a society when I read the hateful comments people post online after devastating newspaper stories about criminals, etc. We are so fast to heap scorn on the Julies of the world. Why, oh why, don't we help in some way? Why don't we acknowledge that we are not in her place, not because we are better than Julie, but maybe because we were given advantages that she never had?

Would it hurt for us to be kinder to one another?

Thanks for posting. I'll think about this for a long time.

A Novel Woman said...

Ah, Lottery Girl, you said what is in my heart, but so much more eloquently. That's why I loves ya.

BB said...

I read it a week or so ago - just about broke my heart... an amazing ongoing project. I wonder if he ever felt like he could intervene to help her at all?

Certainly hit a nerve with many people... and some incredible photos.