Synopses & Reviews
Uncle Charlie was my favorite uncle. Hes my godfather. My grandfather was a grade-A hood, hustling, pimping women, abusive. My mother got out, but Uncle Charlie never did. My mother made sure I had an education. I went to art school. In 1981, I started realizing that my uncle was an interesting person to take pictures of, and it became my family album. Charlie is fifty-one years old now and his life is a mess. He blames his kids, he blames his ex-wife, he blames my motherhe thinks he is the ultimate victim. I know enough about his life to know how he got there, but emotionally I cant cut him any slack. I know its because he had an abusive childhood, but that doesnt give you the right to fuck up your kids. Still, you know, I feel for him. Hell always be my Uncle Charlie.
Marc Asnin has been photographing his Uncle Charlie for eleven years. Charlie and his five children (Charles, Joe, Brian, Mary, and Jamie) lived together in Bushwick, Brooklyn. This is the story of his tattos, his guns, his uneployment, his illness, his poverty, and his drug problems.
Marc Asnin is based in New York City and has been photographing for twenty years. He developed a curiosity for photography as a child growing up in Brooklyn, inspired by his father, an advertising photographer. Marcs resume is extensive. His various awards include the W. Eugene Smith Grant, the Mother Jones Documentary Award, and the Alicia Patterson Fellowship. He has also taught at institutions such as the International Center of Photography and the School of Visual Arts.
The terrible story of a man, his life, his family and drugs.
"The process of taking pictures for the Uncle Charlie project was always very intimate. This image is a prime example of that intimacy. In this image Charlie was coming out of one of his most anorexic and house-bound states. As he and Blanca were lying down, I was suddenly struck by how similar Charlie looked to his mother, my grandmother, when she was on her deathbed. It was a very eerie feeling to see a sort of death mask on Charlie's face, one that looked so much like his mother. One of the major underlying themes of the Uncle Charlie project is the cyclical nature of contemporary society, how poverty and mental illness are often inherited. For Charlie to so closely resemble his dying mother in his current dilapidated state really brought the project full circle for me on both a professional and personal level."Marc Asnin
Marc Asnin likes to say he was born and raised in Brooklyn when "Brooklyn was Brooklyn," which is his way of saying not the hip, phony, expensive version that comes to mind these days. If this sounds like he has a chip on his shoulder, think again: it's on both shoulders.
Raw, unflinching images that tell the story of one mans struggle with mental illness, poverty, drug addiction, and profound isolation
About the Author
MARC ASNIN: Marc Asnin is based in New York City and has been photographing for twenty years. He developed a curiosity for photography as a child growing up in Brooklyn, inspired by his father, an advertising photographer. Marcs resume is extensive. His work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine, Mens Health, The New Yorker, Fortune, Newsweek and Readers Digest. His various awards include the W. Eugene Smith Grant, the Mother Jones Documentary Award and the Alicia Patterson Fellowship. He has also taught at institutions such as the International Center of Photography and the School of Visual Arts.