El Cero

short stories

The battle over drugs.

I remember a British indie singer saying something like; nobody using drugs is really happy. I think it always dangerous to make sweeping general statements, as it’s always difficult to speak for everyone, all at once. I know from my own experience that I’m happier, more confident, calmer without drugs, than with them. Not that life is all roses, that’s not life, but it’s about coping with reality in a much surer and positive manner, rather than hiding in a box. I remember thinking of excessive drug and alcohol abuse as almost a form of self harm. We know it’s damaging but we do it anyway. Again I don’t know how generally true that is, but it certainly feels like a way out at times. The more you abuse, the more desperate you are to stay away from reality, whatever that reality may be.

Anyway, it’s difficult photographing drug use as it feels like such a cliche subject. While at the same time it seems very important to reflect it somehow as I think it signifies a lot in the people who are doing it. It’s just finding the most effective way of doing this. I find the expression in Kaly’s face above uncomfortable and a little disturbing, but at the same time I feel guilty for reflecting this in Kaly. Kaly’s disabled and his body language is sometimes different from a person without this disability, and so I’m not sure exactly what I’m saying – if you understand. It also feels a little like Don McCullin’s photos of homeless people in the 70’s. Anyway again, these are just thoughts, and I’ll keep on trying to find a way to photograph this subject that I find the most telling myself.


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