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Courtesy of 

Suzanne Stein

Faces of Humanity

Highly Commended

Suzanne Stein


New York City, USA

Ginette has lived in the East Village, New York City, for 48 years. She has lived in the same tiny, unrenovated two room studio for all of those years. She became a fixture in the neighborhood, walking with her cane, navigating a city that went through numerous metamorphic changes in her decades of living. As she aged, she became less able to wander the streets of her beloved East Village, and found herself living the life of a shut in most days, enslaved by chronic pain and long term disability brought on by a deformed hip in childhood. Ginette’s struggle to get outside her apartment independently is the center of my work with her. I met Ginette one afternoon while I was out photographing the neighborhood as a street photographer, and began a years long relationship photographing her life inside her home and outside. I found that her life indoors was often solitary and full of pain as she would often be forced to stay indoors because of severe pain in her body. Her old apartment, with a shower stall located high off the floor, was desperately in need of renovations for her own safety. Each day, she struggled to get up and outside, down a steep flight of stairs to the street, so that she could sit outside and become part of the neighborhood she had adored for decades. Ginette’s resistance to having any kind of medical interventions as well as her desperation to remain independent prevented her from utilizing any in home care services. Her intense fear of hospitalization coupled with her inability to take care of herself or her home created an almost intolerable situation. Her intense motivation to remain in her home at all costs, despite declining health, and her deep love for the people of the neighborhood have sustained her and pushed her to keep trying every day to remain a part of the flow of life that is the East Village.

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