Cheryl gets ready for a date in her apartment in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Q: “What do you think people on the outside see in this photo?” A: “They see a young girl, me, Cheryl, putting on her lipstick, smiling, getting all dolled up for the night on the town or whatever she’s doing that afternoon or evening.”

Heroin Users Help Us See Photos Of Addiction Differently

After a year taking photos of three long-term heroin users, I turned to them to help interpret the images

Aaron Goodman
Mar 10, 2016 · 14 min read


Exploring a new approach to photography: A beautiful, generative failure

If the public and policy makers are divided about heroin-assisted treatment, a lack of information certainly won’t help. I wanted to see if a collaborative photography project would create a new type of imagery. I wondered if new imagery could spur new attitudes.

Photo: Larry Clark

Hearing from the heroin users

If there’s one thing I learned, it’s that images on their own are unable to communicate the full depth, complexity and humanity of drug users’ — or anyone’s — lives. From the outset of the project, I intended to pair the images with excerpts from interviews with the drug users.


PART ONE: CHERYL’S STORY

Cheryl returns to an alley in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside where she lived for several years.
Cheryl self-injects her medication at Providence Healthcare’s Crosstown Clinic in Vancouver.
Cheryl cries in the yard of a church in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside where her father’s funeral was held.
Cheryl prepares to use drugs in in her apartment in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
Cheryl paints her nails before a court appearance about a sexual assault she experienced.
Cheryl paints her nails before a court appearance about a sexual assault she experienced.
Cheryl self-injects drugs in her apartment in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.


Vantage

Perspectives on Visual Storytelling

Aaron Goodman

Written by

Photo, multimedia, documentary. Human rights & genocide. Founder @storyturns.

Vantage

Vantage

Perspectives on Visual Storytelling