14 Dec MED_014

A teenager, Jeremiah Shaw, had been recently shot and killed on Laflin Street, just a week before this photo was taken at his sidewalk memorial. On the spot where he died, friends and family placed candles, empty bottles of alcohol, and they hung rosaries from the fence. Someone taped a selfie on the fence, one that that “Man Man” had taken of himself in a mirror, and printed it out on 8.5×11 computer paper. Someone had written “love none” on it in black Sharpie, vertically, in two columns. Although I’ve met many people on the block, including Man Man’s young cousins, I had never met him in person.

I hated that my first and only photos involving him were of his memorial and funeral. I didn’t feel comfortable taking pictures of him lying in his casket.

But I liked the idea that I could take one where it’s as though he’s looking right back at me — and at us.

Taking our image as we stare into his eyes.

And see ourselves different through them.