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Christopher Capozziello

A State Of Mind

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This story began two years ago at a funeral home in the center of my hometown in Connecticut.

I stood in a line of a thousand or so people, with my good friend Laura, and her mother Bea. As we mourned the death of our friend Vinnie, a recovering drug addict, who relapsed and died of a heroin overdose, Bea told me how Vinnie had helped Monica, her youngest daughter, detox from heroin 5 months prior. She explained how afraid she was that his death would put Monica into a tailspin. Unfortunately, that is how this story goes.

When Monica was a young child, the pastor of the church she and her family attended, allegedly molested her over a 5-year period. When she was 18, she told her family what happened. Her accusations have never been confirmed and since the offense took place so long ago, Monica’s parents cannot bring suit against the pastor. Her parents believe this explains her many years of drug abuse.

Last year, Monica became pregnant with a man she met in rehab in Florida. Monica and Kyle stayed clean for 7 months before they both relapsed; just two months before the birth of their daughter Juliette. Following the birth, they both continued to intravenously use opiates.

When the baby was born, Bea traveled to Florida to help her daughter’s transition into motherhood. While Bea was there, Kyle became extremely volatile one night, and threatened to kill Monica, yet they remain a couple. Before Bea left for Connecticut, Monica told her to take Juliette, ‘I can’t raise her like this, not while I’m using.’

Today, baby Juliette is safe with Bea and her husband Don, in Connecticut, while Monica remains in Florida. I plan to investigate deeper into the molestation allegations.

 

Bio

Christopher Capozziello (born 1980) is a freelance photographer and a founding member of the AEVUM photography collective.

His work is primarily about inviting the viewer into personal stories in order to understand different facets of life. His projects often make unpleasant realities beautiful, not by misleading anyone, but by allowing the viewer to stop and look more deeply at the subject.

Christopher’s work has been honored by World Press Photo, Pictures of the Year International, the Alexia Foundation, the Aftermath Project Grant, PDN Photo Annual, Photolucidas Critical Mass, Review Santa Fe, American Photography, Communication Arts, National Press Photographers Association, among others.

He currently lives in Milford, Connecticut, where he accepts assignments and works on long-term personal projects.

 

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Christopher Capoziello

 

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Caribbean Crew Youth Group. Nairobi 2011

Bob Miller (b. 1986, United States) is a photographer and multimedia storyteller with roots in America’s deep South. His work has been recognized by the National Press Photographers Association, College Photographer of the Year, the International Photography Awards, American Photography and the Alexia Foundation for World Peace. He has also exhibited in solo and group shows both nationally and internationally. Having a background in graphic design, Bob returned to graduate school in the summer of 2010 to study photojournalism at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications. He currently works as the photographer and filmmaker for the Slaughter Group.

About the Photograph:

“Members of the Caribbean Crew Youth Group wash cars and 14-passenger Matatus at the entrance to Kibera slum in Nairobi. The money earned from their labor is consistent but minimal says acting secretary Abdallah Juma, 23. Financial instability is the group’s primary hurdle to reaching the long term goal of seeing fewer youths unemployed. “We are the founders of this country,” Juma said. “Even without government intervention, we as youth can do it ourselves.” Caribbean Youth was begun in 2008 as a result of the post-election violence, and since then has adopted over 60 members. In addition to the car wash, the youth gather manure for compost, sort plastics to sell for income and organize a conflict management and peacekeeping team.”

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May 1 marks International Worker’s Day, and this year Occupy Wall Street and other OWS-friendly groups are planning a day of action with events in cities around the United States. The plans cover a broad spectrum of protest activities, but one thing is sure to be shared by all: wherever there’s a protest, someone is going to try to take a picture of it; New York City’s South Street Seaport Museum, located near Wall Street, is currently exhibiting photographs, including the one seen here, of Occupy protests. But some of those photographers will, if the past is any indication, get arrested.

According to Jay Stanley, who runs the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) project on photographers’ rights, the rising number of arrests is not in photographers’ imaginations: hostility between photographers and the police actually is becoming more common, even though American law guarantees the right to photograph in a public place. Occupy protests have been a consistent source of that tension.

Photojournalists, particularly freelancers, can encounter an extra layer of scrutiny. Mickey Osterreicher, a lawyer on the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) advocacy committee, says that professionals with obviously high-quality equipment can be targeted, even though the press legally has as much of a right to be in and photograph public places as everyone else does. Especially since the 2011 federal case of Glik v. Cunniffe, in which the court found that a Boston man was not guilty under anti-wiretapping statutes for having videotaped an arrest with his cellphone, the right to photograph the police has been firmly established. Although whether or not the police can look at one’s photos is in the process of being tested in court, police cannot seize a camera without reason. But those legal rights don’t necessarily translate to smooth experiences on the ground.

Beyond knowledge of the law and professional conduct—which means not breaking any other laws, such as trespassing statutes—there’s not much a photographer can do in advance to prevent that kind of hassle. “If you’re arguing with somebody who’s got a badge and a gun, usually you’re going to lose that argument right then,” says Osterreicher, who notes that a photographer’s best recourse usually comes later, in court—which is why it’s helpful to continue to record audio and video, if possible, to preserve a record of one’s interaction with the police.

There are several resources available for photographers who encounter trouble with the law. Here are just a few:

  • Websites like Carlos Miller’s Photography is Not a Crime keep track of the latest developments and news about the topic.
  • NPPA photographers who encounter trouble with the law can reach out to the association’s legal advocacy committee.
  • The ACLU maintains an extensive website to help photographers stay aware of all their legal rights and options—and they also helped with the video posted below.

Osterreicher and the NPPA are working with law enforcement agencies to educate officers about photographers’ rights, with particular attention on avoiding conflict at this year’s upcoming political party conventions. Stanley is also hopeful that, with education, the relationship between police officers and photographers can become a productive one. “I’m optimistic that professional police officers around the country will come to understand that this is a necessary check and balance, and a necessary freedom in a free society,” he says.

The Occupy Wall Street photojournalism exhibition is on view at the South Street Seaport Museum in New York City through July 8.

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Your rating: None

May 1 marks International Worker’s Day, and this year Occupy Wall Street and other OWS-friendly groups are planning a day of action with events in cities around the United States. The plans cover a broad spectrum of protest activities, but one thing is sure to be shared by all: wherever there’s a protest, someone is going to try to take a picture of it; New York City’s South Street Seaport Museum, located near Wall Street, is currently exhibiting photographs, including the one seen here, of Occupy protests. But some of those photographers will, if the past is any indication, get arrested.

According to Jay Stanley, who runs the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) project on photographers’ rights, the rising number of arrests is not in photographers’ imaginations: hostility between photographers and the police actually is becoming more common, even though American law guarantees the right to photograph in a public place. Occupy protests have been a consistent source of that tension.

Photojournalists, particularly freelancers, can encounter an extra layer of scrutiny. Mickey Osterreicher, a lawyer on the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) advocacy committee, says that professionals with obviously high-quality equipment can be targeted, even though the press legally has as much of a right to be in and photograph public places as everyone else does. Especially since the 2011 federal case of Glik v. Cunniffe, in which the court found that a Boston man was not guilty under anti-wiretapping statutes for having videotaped an arrest with his cellphone, the right to photograph the police has been firmly established. Although whether or not the police can look at one’s photos is in the process of being tested in court, police cannot seize a camera without reason. But those legal rights don’t necessarily translate to smooth experiences on the ground.

Beyond knowledge of the law and professional conduct—which means not breaking any other laws, such as trespassing statutes—there’s not much a photographer can do in advance to prevent that kind of hassle. “If you’re arguing with somebody who’s got a badge and a gun, usually you’re going to lose that argument right then,” says Osterreicher, who notes that a photographer’s best recourse usually comes later, in court—which is why it’s helpful to continue to record audio and video, if possible, to preserve a record of one’s interaction with the police.

There are several resources available for photographers who encounter trouble with the law. Here are just a few:

  • Websites like Carlos Miller’s Photography is Not a Crime keep track of the latest developments and news about the topic.
  • NPPA photographers who encounter trouble with the law can reach out to the association’s legal advocacy committee.
  • The ACLU maintains an extensive website to help photographers stay aware of all their legal rights and options—and they also helped with the video posted below.

Osterreicher and the NPPA are working with law enforcement agencies to educate officers about photographers’ rights, with particular attention on avoiding conflict at this year’s upcoming political party conventions. Stanley is also hopeful that, with education, the relationship between police officers and photographers can become a productive one. “I’m optimistic that professional police officers around the country will come to understand that this is a necessary check and balance, and a necessary freedom in a free society,” he says.

The Occupy Wall Street photojournalism exhibition is on view at the South Street Seaport Museum in New York City through July 8.

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Your rating: None