Jean-Christian Bourcart – “Camden” (2008)


Absurd, all I did was search the web for the most dangerous city in the USA. I wanted to find that strange energy given off by places where rules and social constraints have been abolished or weakened. Or maybe I wanted to check that it’s still possible to reach out to others, as distant and alien as they might seem.

At the top of the list I found Camden, New Jersey, less than two hours from New York. There, I discovered the face of everyday poverty hidden behind stigma and stereotype. People are tough but their laughs touch me, and when I got mugged by a prostitute, she gave me $10 back, so I would not be totally stranded.

At first I photographed crackheads in the street for $2 a session. And then I met Supreme, who would get me into houses for $20, sweet-talking the inhabitants.

I’m interested in what we have in common with people from Camden. But then again, photography is always about difference. I wonder if there’s any point adding more spectacle to the spectacle. Maybe it helps to provide some material evidence about the economic and social machine that swallows us up and spits us out.




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