the literate lens

Arnade_RamoneAside from a few notorious individuals—Henry Ford, perhaps, or Bernie Madoff—few people get to experience life at society’s top and bottom. Chris Arnade is an exception. Two years ago, Arnade quit his job as a Wall Street trader to focus on a burgeoning hobby, photographing addicts and prostitutes in the Bronx neighborhood of Hunts Point. That’s where he spends most of his time now, following subjects into dirty pits under the expressway, or crashing for the night in a crack house.

Arnade doesn’t want this story to be about him, though. He’d far rather focus on the people he’s befriended and photographed—people like Takeesha, a prostitute who was raped when she was eleven, and Wayne, a homeless scrap metal collector and addict who, despite his troubles, is always polite and gracious. Men and women who, born into other circumstances, could perhaps have made a decent life for themselves.

“Poverty and…

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