When the Spirit Moves
Photo by Justin Maxon
The Sun Village is a place where families shut themselves into their homes; where people sleep in their basement because gunshots are like birds screeching in the night. But on one particular morning, the neighbourhood awoke to a new air: a Sun Village alive and breathing. Mothers, fathers, sons and daughters; sweeping together, picking up trash together. A loud speaker blasted from a moving car. A beloved pastor coaxes people from the walls of their homes. “We are all working together to clean up Sun Village. Join us, as we take back our neighbourhood.
Chester, PA is located along the Delaware River and has a rich history dating back to the mid-1600s. In the mid 1960’s the city experienced an industrial collapse and subsequent economic meltdown. Many residing in Chester now live in hardship. A food desert spans the length of the city: there hasn’t been a single grocery store in the last decade. The city’s public schools rank last among the state’s districts. The murder rate is one of the highest per capita in the United States.
When I began this project in 2008, I quickly learned Chester to be a place with a long history of government corruption. With this work, I want people to understand the true complexities of living in a community like Chester. How everything is interlocked: a patchwork of trauma and courage. I’ve witnessed tragedy here, but I have seen equal moments of strength and beauty. The moments of light and progress are not forgotten under the overwhelming weight of violence and oppression.
Emaho Magazine will be conducting a photography workshop with Justin Maxon in Mumbai from 8-11th January, and New Delhi from 21-24th January, 2014.