In an apartment above Fifth Avenue, some thirty young people live in a vortex of drug addiction and despair. In The Ninth Floor, Jessica Dimmock enters this world, exploring, in human terms, what has been lost and what may be recovered. See the project at http://mediastorm.com/publication/the-ninth-floor
I usually see images taken by international photographers and get a sickening feeling of inadequacy. A lot of them are doing foreign correspondant work that, although not my personal genre, is a romantic ideal when your stick at a desk job. Claire Martin, a perth girl, photographs the homeless in Canada and I have spent hours looking at her work thinking I should run to the Salvation Army centre and photograph everyone there. The internet makes it hard to work autonomously- you are one mouse click away for someone who is doing better than you.
But no modern photographer's work moves me like Jessica Dimmocks. I saw images from " the ninth floor" a few years back when she won the Inge Morath fellowship. The images and her name have stayed in my visual vocabulary so much so that when I saw her byline on a NYmag photo today I had to check in to see what she was doing. On her website I found the above video which I watched with my partner this afternoon. Our eyes widened, we were horrified, shocked but above all moved by what we were seeing. Dimmock has said in interviews that she came to the ninth floor after a dealer tried to sell her crack as she stood outside her New York photography school trying to figure out her camera. The dealer struck up conversation and said she was welcome to follow him for the day. As all intrepid photography students would understand she took up the invitation, following him all day untill he made his last stop at the squat. She took a few photos and went back the next day to drop off some prints. The chance initial contact spiralled into years of work in which she at times lived in the squat. Her images speak for themselves, what she has created in a masterpeice. But for once I can't say i am jealous. What she must have gone through to get these images, the emotional toll not to mention the risk to her safety... though thankful she created this work ( work that is clearly worth any personal cost to the photographer) I am glad it wasn't me.