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  • Writer's pictureTuananh

Heroin Whores

September 17, 2019

“I was raped.” “Life, what life?” “I am a whore.”

These are the chilling words from a beautiful young woman, bruised and battered, her teeth shattered and her dry crusted lips shaking from the high. These forgotten people line the dark alley ways of skid row and the greasy stink that comes roaring into my face as I climbed the stairwell into yet another whorehouse. Following my guide, a local pimp and small time drug dealer that for some ridiculous reason found my interest in his neighborhood to be if, this asshole was the starlet of the next never to be seen Indy film. As the hair on the back of my neck stiffens at every corridor, I pushed on. Perhaps it was ignorant curiosity, perhaps it was the pure adrenaline rush of being alive in that moment, or simply the need to complete the task at hand...a series that I have spent months preparing and researching for before making the final decision to push myself against that wall of fear and breaking it down with a set of images that still feels like a punch to my gut. I don’t pity these people, I don’t judge them either, but to be in that place at that time allowed me to understand acknowledge their pain and to ultimately face my own mortality and morality.

The irony plays out as a gorgeous blonde prostitute loses herself while a toilet holds her posture; a man pushes the needle deep into his arm amidst a floor soiled in urine and feces; the anonymous pimp hid beside a shroud of imbecility; a scene of the everyday life in a “cocktail of agony and horror” just around the corner.

Series: “Heroin Whores” (Undisclosed; c2014-c2016; AP Press & LFI Series Award; Leica M2 & 35mm Summilux AA & 50mm Noctilux, Silver Gelatin Emulsion Hahnmule; personal journal excerpt)

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