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Baltimore Street Portraits

Ben Cricchi | Maryland, United States

Southwest Baltimore - Marcel was a troubled child always causing a stir with shopkeepers. He, an eight year old, asked me one day to help him write a card to a girl in class. "How do I write ‘I love you’?"

Society's strata and the remnants of an American apartheid still seethe below the surface of Baltimore. Huge sections of the city still lie in rubble over fifty years after the riots that ignited after Martin Luther King Jr's assassination. Baltimore consistently ranks as one of the most violent cities in America. Like so many other "rustbelt" cities, Baltimore lacks good middle class jobs that left the city when factory and union jobs left Baltimore. This history is the story of late twentieth century America with jobs shipped overseas where workers will work for pennies on the dollar.

These photographs explore the largely poor and working class people of Baltimore City who have been left behind. Violence and upheaval does not make my camera stir. I thirst for reflection and deep contemplation. These pictures are an attempt to bridge the gap of my heart and soul as an artist with who and what I see on the streets of Baltimore today.

My heroes are the great street photographers of the mid-twentieth century. My subject are those with whom I am most at home: the disenfranchised and marginalized poor. The act of taking a portrait elevates the subject and myself for a brief moment, turning the quotidian into the significant.

I believe that someone - like myself - who is an artist with a cognitive disorder such as schizophrenia has simply been to places that others have not. These are darker recesses of the mind that not everyone can sympathize with or understand, but when this torment is distilled into art it can be clearly recognized as a strong and stark echo of that artist’s struggle.

 

Ben Cricchi

ben.cricchi@gmail.com

443.756.4003

440 E Oliver St Apt 4G

Baltimore, Maryland 21202

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