MONEY POWER RESPECT
Pictures of My Neighborhood
Photographs by Brenda Ann Kenneally. Text by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc.
Channel Photographics, New York, 2005. 144 pp.,
100 varnished duotone illustrations, 8 x 10 1/2”.
Since 1996, photographer Brenda Ann Kenneally has documented the families in her Brooklyn neighborhood, quietly witnessing their struggle with poverty, social institutions, and the illicit drug trade. Having inspired the likes of Eugene Richards and Thomas Roma, Brooklyn proves an inexhaustible muse, and Kenneally comes to the familiar ground with a fresh perspective. Her poignant, psychological photographs span generations, tracing the same people she sees everyday on her street. With her camera, Kenneally narrates their tale of both hope and despair as she explores how her subjects empower themselves in a lost culture of drugs and prison. Money, Power, Respect: Pictures of My Neighborhood chronicles pregnancies and births, institutions and streets, drugs and rehab, showing the community of inner-city families at once full of life and also institutionalized by the welfare system. Through it all, Kenneally evokes their dreams for a better life, tempered with the awareness that they may be caught in the cyclic lifestyle of limited opportunities. The photographs are in the best sense fully present, alive to what is, rather than searching for what is not. Her images draw us to hope for their survival and compel us to experience the depths and complexities of family life in the American social and justice systems. Money, Power, Respect details a crucial historical moment in our nation's nearly total abandonment of the poor. This book makes it impossible to turn away from the yearning towards life, to detach the economics of the situation from the machinery of the heart.
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