February 09 2011

The Julie Project

posted by Ana Samways at 9:29 am

I bawled while reading about Julie Baird’s unfortunate life, but I am a cryer.

Darcy Padilla photographed Julie over an 18 year period, from when she was a teen with her 8 day old infant, to her death from AIDS at 36. The fly-on-the-wall photographs are not easy to look at; they are confronting, brutal and terribly sad. And they made me angry. Why would a woman like this have child after child? To think of Julie as a person and not a series of political issues is important. It reminds us of the fragility of human existence when poverty and poor mental health are factors, and the intergenerational nature of such deprivation.

“Julie 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. Her room was piled with clothes, overfull ashtrays and trash. She lived with Jack, father of her first baby Rachael, and who had given her AIDS. She left him months later to stop using drugs…”

Read more here.

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