Mental Health Housing

Smoking outside a housing facility in Vancouver, 2011

Watching me through the smoke room door. He has never actually spoken to me but every time I ask if I can his photograph he nods his head, stands up, and stares at me with this expression. Once I tell him I got the shot he smiles and returns to his seat, 2011

In every housing facility that I have visited there is at least one smoke room, often more. These rooms tend to be the area of pass-time for the majority of the residents. Due to constant medication, much of which is anti-anxiety pills to keep people sedate, many residents spend large parts of their days sitting in these rooms and smoking, 2011

Rose was always chain smoking in the same spot when I would arrive. The big can next to the window is her personal ashtray. She loved getting her picture taken but would only let me photograph her if I brought a photograph from a previous visit. She liked every picture I took, 2011

Two years later in the fall of 2013, when I arrived back in Vancouver, they told me she had died two months before. I can’t photograph that house anymore, 2011

“My life has already come and gone,” – Gary, 2011

Portrait of Gary, 2011

Smoke room in Coyoacán, 2013

Loris smoking, 2013

Loris showing me a Mother’s Day letter from her son. She cannot speak so she made gestures indicating for me to read it. She carries the letter in her wheel chair with her everywhere, 2011

Chester in his rocking chair. He sits in this chair at the same time every week while waiting for his laundry to wash. Once I asked him why he does this and he replied, “It’s what I like to do”, 2011

Ishmael has more clothing than I do. Winter is his favorite season because, as he puts it, he has more options for style. Within the first few months that I met him he was always impeccably dressed. The last few times I had seen him though, he seemed to have stopped, 2012

“This system is a puzzle you must figure out if you want to get anything out of it” – Anty, 2011

Anty is a poet. She is transgender and proud of her body so she asked me to take nude photos of her, 2011

Otto Max always would tell me long stories about his life. Occasionally he put on pants for me but usually he said that if he is in his home, he should be comfortable. Most the photographs I have of him are in his underwear, 2011

Otto Max in his room again being “comfortable”, 2011

Mario in his room (reference to Otto Max), 2013

A portrait after a smoke, coyoacán, 2013

Chester introducing me to his wife for the first time, 2012

Chester holding his bible three days before his wife’s funeral, 2013

Trying to teach me to play dominos. He left to the hospital a few days later. I never learned how to play, 2013

Alain reading. When I first met Alain he was discussing French literature with another resident after having lent him a book, Paris 2013

Jon on on the patio after smoking a cigarette. He is a writer and has been published many times, 2012

The last time I saw Jon, 2012

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