July 5th, 2013. “Hey Bro, well its 7 months today since you was taken away from us . . . I know you don’t want to see us down & heart broken. It is going to get harder b4 it get easy but we trying.” Since the murder of her twin brother on December 5th of 2012, Elena Jo McElwee, writes to him on the 5th day of every month. She fills the blank space on her bedroom walls with notes to her brother. She must maintain this connection with him. She must never forget. In Chester, Pennsylvania, families are seeking justice and yearning for ways to heal. With one of the highest homicide rates in the country, the city has sustained unresolved loss of hundreds of lives over the last twenty years. Oppressive social structures and negligent law enforcement have lead to prolonged, collective trauma. Family photos are tucked in albums and other keepsakes stowed away in drawers. By opening drawers and revisiting albums, this work aims to restore fragile memories and forge pathways to justice, healing, and restitution for the families of Chester.
Photographer Justin Maxon‘s current project, “Heaven’s Gain” is currently on display at Photoville. Join Maxon and photographer Alex Welsh with Dr. Fatima Hafiz-Walid, Temple University professor and President and Facilitator of Transformative Education Associates; and Andre Mitchell, Found and CEO of Man Up! Inc. on Saturday, September 21 for a panel discussion about documenting communities impacted by gun violence presented by The Magnum Foundation.
Photoville is currently open and runs through Sunday, September 29, but will be closed Monday, September 23 through Wednesday, September 25.