In 2004 I was in East Liverpool when a young woman named Tiffany Faulk was murdered by her boyfriend who beat her to death with a baseball bat when he was “ cracked out, “ on a mix of drugs. I was not looking for violence, murder, or drugs, but, it was a simple fact. Drugs are there and this murder happened. This is the reality of the place. As a documentary Artist I felt the responsibility to get to work. I respectfully approached Tiffany Faulks family and they allowed me to photograph at her funeral. The photographs that I made that day were the beginning of this project.
Tiffany Faulk lies dead in a coffin with two of her friends grieving by her side. Tiffany was murdered by her boyfriend who beat her with a baseball bat to the back of her head seventy two times. Tiffany’s boyfriend was “cracked out,” on drugs including crystal meth.Tiffany was also five months pregnant. The brutality of the murder shocked East Liverpool and was a wake up call to many about the drug problem in the whole area.
This project is about community, struggle, individuals. It’s about watching a friend die of cancer like many others in the community because of toxic hazardous waste being spilled in the area. It’s about the horrible ease of getting drugs like heroin, and watching it destroy people and communities. It’s also about trying to see the best in people and hoping they will come through. It’s about connection, friendships, race, lack of opportunity. It’s about the human condition in all of its complexity. It’s about the difficulty in judging or moralizing people, and what those boundaries are. It’s about my personal relationship with a country, a place and it’s people. It’s about really listening to what people are saying. It’s about going further than your average news pic. It’s about exploring the subconscious of a place. It’s about our zeitgeist. It’s about what is really there.
The bed of a heroin addict in East Liverpool, Ohio, USA.