Kensington Blues is a fine-art photography book documenting the trials and tribulations of those affected by drug addiction and prostitution along Kensington Avenue in North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Eighty-eight large-format color photographs paired with audio transcripts and handwritten journal entries, created over a period of 5 years, tell the personal stories of those fighting to survive the neighborhood and themselves.
Book Specs ISBN: 978-0-692-75333-0 Linen Bound, 4″x5″ Image Tipped in, De-bossed. Page Count: 174 Color Photographs: 88 Size: 10” x 12.5” Portrait Price: $60.00 Release Date: Spring, 2017
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JS: Can you tell me a little bit about how you guys met? And just a recent history.
Pat: We met by a mutual friend. And uh, that was, that was like uh, there was a lot of drug use there, like with friends and stuff but uh, like it was weird because its was like me and her had the same group of friends but never knew each other for like a couple years and then we met and uh, but…
Rachel: I wasn’t into drugs at all. I hated it.
Rachel: I couldn’t stand it. I liked the drinking and stuff and uh… he was dipping and dabbing. After I got really close with him, I got serious with him, I was a little bit curious. And I started then also and uh, I don’t know, we fell in love, we got married, our drug use had slowed down, we had um, children. And then um, I got sick and got put on pain killers. It all rolled out from there again. You know and our addiction started back up and, with the heroin till at one point where we couldn’t even take care of ourselves, losing houses, I was dancing at the time, trying to uh… get us from job to job, I was dancing trying to keep a roof over our heads, and then we couldn’t even do that. We had these children to take care of too, it got to the point where you know, we called uh, Children and Youth on ourselves and gave our kids over. You know, like still to this day like we don’t know where they are and it kills me as a mother but I felt I was doing the best thing I could do for them at that time, give them a better life. But um… We’re just, it was the most selfless thing I could do, people say it’s selfish, but I thought I was doing the best I could. But, you, you know, like I was telling him, you get so involved in here that like with the drugs it’s such a, it’s like a dark cloud over your head and you don’t know how to get out or how to climb out sometimes. It’s like you try and get half way and you get pulled back down. You know.
Pat: Nothing else mattered.
Rachel: Nothing. Our kids didn’t even matter… You know um, sure you think about it and then you really start thinking about it, but not to think about it, then you get high, cause you don’t want to think about that stuff, you don’t want to think about the things, you don’t want to deal with them. You know, why I think the way I think, I don’t know. I don’t even have an answer for that. You know, we moved down here to Kensington and it’s like we’re stuck. We don’t know where to turn to… We know how to eat cause there’s free meals everyday but like where do we start out from to keep moving up? You know, we know what to do, but to do it, do we do it? No. Why? I don’t know. I have no clue why.
Pat: Well, I thought about, you know I think sometimes to myself, like just cause we’re addicts and we’re on the street and stuff doesn’t mean that we don’t know what’s going on like in the world and like with the way the economy’s going and everything else and like your regular everyday people that work day-to-day and have jobs and all that kinda stuff, how many of them you see out here that have lost their jobs, now their homeless, they’re on the streets and drugs got them, but it’s like… I listen to a lot of these people that are sober now or people that have never experienced drug use and their lives are hell. And lot of times I think to myself like, do I want to get clean so I can just live in a sober reality world of living hell? Like, because of like of my past and everything it’s not like I’m gonna go right to the top of the ladder. So, sometimes it’s like, wow, like why do I want to do, why go through all that crap sober? That, that’s going on you know. There’s no jobs, there’s you know, it’s like I don’t, I don’t, I don’t want to do it sober. It’s just reality, I don’t, I’d rather to just… deal with it this way, you know…