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Marc Asnin June 10, 2009

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.

Charlie and  Blanca. From the project “Uncle Charlie”

Marc Asnin (b.1964) likes to say he was born and raised in Brooklyn when “Brooklyn was Brooklyn.” Which is his way of saying, not the hip, phony, expensive version that comes to mind these days. If this sounds like he has a chip on his shoulder, think again: it’s on both shoulders. His clients include: The New Yorker, Stern, Life, New York Times Magazine, and many others. His various awards include the Eugene Smith Grant for Humanistic Photography in 1993, the Mother Jones International Fund for Documentary Photography in 2000 and the Alicia Patterson Fellowship in 2001. For the past 29 years, Marc has photographed his Uncle Charlie. This body of work was recently selected to appear in the book Blink, published by Phaidon. Marc has also taught at the International Center for Photography and the School of Visual Arts. Uncle Charlie was published by Contrasto. Check out the website for the book here.

About the Photograph:

“The process of taking pictures for the Uncle Charlie project was always very intimate.  This image is a prime example of that intimacy. In this image Charlie was coming out of one of his most anorexic and house-bound states. As he and Blanca were lying down, I was suddenly struck by how similar Charlie looked like his mother, my grandmother, when she was on her deathbed. It was a very eerie feeling to see a sort of death mask on Charlie’s face, one that looked so much like his mother.  One of the major underlying themes of the Uncle Charlie project is the cyclical nature of contemporary society, how poverty and mental illness are often inherited. For Charlie to so closely resemble his dying mother in his current dilapidated state really brought the project full circle for me on both a professional and personal level.”


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