This morning making coffee, for no reason, I remembered Annie Ling, a photographer that I loved during my studies. And I thought: why not write about her?
But why Annie Ling? Annie Ling is a Canadian born documentary photographer currently living in Brooklyn, New York. In 2008 he officially received the certificate of documentary photo and photojournalism and started a long series of projects with a purpose: to tell the story of people that society chooses not to see.
The work of this photographer is important because it makes us more aware of reality that very often, due to laziness or lack of information, we do not know. Modern society seems turning on the other side not to face these social problems that are so heavy that they can no longer wait to be solved.
According to data, about 40% of the senior population in chinatown live in conditions well below the acceptable. Once migrants and workers in the area, they now live locked up in small rooms, alone, isolated and unable to get health care.
Mrs. Lee is a 88-years-old widow unhable to leave the house due to limited mobility. Her husband passed away more than thirty years ago and she had to raise her three children on her own.
Mr. Chiu, 86-years-old. After being blinded by a fire incident during work in China, he migrated to New york to seek a better life for his six children.
Mrs. Lee has serious difficulty walking due to splints in both her legs.
81 Bowery is one of my favorite works of Annie Ling. The legendary 81 Bowery was a building in Chinatown where Chinese workers of all ages used to live, crushed and crammed into 64-square-feet “houses”. Before being shutted-down in 2013, Bowery 81 provided rentable cubicles from 9 to 200 dollars, cash in hand. The conditions in which the inhabitants of this ruthless palace lived were inhumane. But while for most Neworkers these homes were unacceptable, for these chinese people, were the only thing they possessed.
The CAAAV (Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence) is still trying to rehome some of those workers and led a small campaign to reopen the 81 Bowery, failing.
“Romania and Moldova are beautiful countries with an ugly problem. Every year, thousands of women, men and children are trafficked outside and within the borders for sex and forced labor” wrote Patricia Chabvepi on Awhereness by Annie Ling.
Awhereness is a touching project realized in collaboration with the survivors of human trafficking. The work is shocking and leaves a bitter aftertaste in the mouth. An aftertaste that talks about violence, abandonment and mistreatment. These are some of the dramatic stories that Annie Ling chooses to share.
Tunde grew up on the streets with a gang and was trafficked by her boyfriend. They had two babies together, both taken away by social services because of his horrible abuses on her. Then she got married with a good man and she had a third child. She is happy now.
One of the places in which Tunde used to live on the streets.
Cristina was trafficked in Germany when she was just 17 years old. She lived on streets, mostly on the pipes in Timisoara, Romania.
Crina spent a lot of time living in an abandoned place called the “Phantom House” with her sister. She was a victim of traffic: she was abused and she turned into a loner.
“[…] my parents have left me; it’s been almost 6 years now, and I don’t know, I feel lonely, upset. It’s like I don’t have any solace. My sister died. I have no comfort. Only constant upsets. But, God will help me get over all this too.”
“It’s hard to find love. To find love, for someone to love you, it’s harder. I’ve been through many things, and I’ve loved but been betrayed”.