Project Title: Vinny and David
Vinny and David begins with Vinny, then 13, when he was incarcerated for stabbing his mother’s assailant, and shadows him and his older brother, David; the long-term photo essay focuses on the brothers’ lives in their family and community over four years in New Mexico.
“I want to go home. I’m not with my mom or my family. I love my older brother more than anybody in the world. I want to spend the night on the moon.” Vinny, just 13, shares his thoughts sitting in a juvenile detention center in New Mexico. Vinny confides, “When my mom was being beat up, I was so scared. I wanted to defend my mom. I’m tired of seeing my mom get hurt.” While in juvenile detention, Vinny’s older brother, David, age 19, is incarcerated in an adult facility. David, who was introduced to drug dealing at age 10, has been in and out of juvenile and adult correctional systems. After his father went to prison, David spent time in and out of the foster care; eventually, at 14, David’s mother, Eve, was given custody. David and Vinny have grown up in an environment of loss and yet yearn for love and a restored family. In the midst of turmoil, Vinny and David try to embrace their youth. They confide in each other, often walking together or riding in David’s car. Vinny describes David as a father figure, and David views Vinny as the only person who appreciates him.
Shortly after Vinny’s release, the court ordered that live with his paternal aunt, three hours from his family in Albuquerque. Just as Vinny’s absence impacts the family, David’s incarcerations leave the family in a culture of loss. When one member is incarcerated, the whole family is too. Powerless to intervene, Eve and David’s girlfriend wait hours for his phone calls, aching for legal decisions and release, sometimes with an unknown date. Incarceration is a solitary and collective experience that leaves profound psychological effects, as it has on Vinny and David’s development. David struggles as he attempts to abandon dealing drugs, wishing to give Felicia, Lily and infant Mary Jane “everything [he] always wanted…[and end] the whole cycle”. Yet change may, at this point, seem more daunting than remaining in a comfortable chaos.
Isadora Kosofsky is a Los Angeles-based documentary photographer. She received the 2012 Inge Morath Award from the Magnum Foundation for her multi-series documentary about the lives and relationships of the elderly. She was a participant in the 2014 Joop Swart Masterclass of World Press Photo. She is the recipient of a 2015 Flash Forward Magenta Foundation Award and a 2015 Commended Award from the Ian Parry Foundation. Her projects have received distinctions from Women in Photography International, Prix de la Photographie Paris and The New York Photo Festival. Isadora’s work has been featured in TIME, Slate, The London Sunday Times, M le Magazine du Monde, Mashable, American Photo, VICE, NationSwell, Narratively, PDN, The British Journal of Photography, The Huffington Post and The New Yorker Photo Booth, among others.