Heroin Users Help Us See Photos Of Addiction Differently
After a year taking photos of three long-term heroin users, I turned to them to help interpret the images
A digital story that recalls my mother's disappearance in my youth and my relationship with my father that led me to work as a journalist.
A digital story focused on struggling to rebuild a relationship with my mother after her long absence.
let the water do the work
After years of not knowing, I finally asked my mother how she faced her greatest challenge in life. (Outfront, CBC Radio, 2005.)
nina & arne
When my cousin Arne was looking for love, he began caring for Nina, a woman with a rare and debilitating form of Multiple Sclerosis. (Outfront, CBC Radio, 2004.)
Winner of the Gabriel Award from the Catholic Academy and the Dave Rogers Award from the Association of Electronic Journalists (RTNDA) for Best Short Feature, National Broadcast.
My current research focuses on creating visual counter-narratives about long-term heroin users through social documentary photography and digital storytelling, the representation of natural death and dying in documentary, and slow, long-form multimedia journalism focused on critical social issues.
representations of heroin users
Is it possible to photograph drug users in less stereotypical ways?
Over the course of a year, I produced a photo documentary about three long-term heroin users taking part in North America's first heroin-assisted treatment program in Vancouver, B.C. I also led a digital storytelling workshop for 10 heroin users. The goal of these projects was to attempt to create visual counter-narratives that challenge the dominant tropes of drug genre photography. I learned it's much harder to do than I expected.
Exploring natural death and dying in documentary
And producing a documentary about my mother's recent death
We're bombarded with images of gruesome and violent death in Hollywood films and news media, yet there are relatively few representations of natural death and dying in documentaries. This may be because death has become a significant taboo in contemporary Western society. While most people used to die at home, many of us now die in hospitals and often alone. Death has been medicalized and institutionalized and many are reluctant to speak openly about it.
I analyzed 25 documentary films, including Allan King's seminal 2003 documentary Dying at Grace in order to inform my documentary practice producing a multimedia story about my mother's recent death from pancreatic cancer that coincided with the birth of my first child.
Find out about our storytelling workshops:
StoryTurns collaborates with organizations around the world to facilitate innovative and empowering digital storytelling workshops. Trained facilitators support participants in script writing, photography, storyboarding and video editing. By the end of the workshop, each participant has created their own film.
A short video about our digital storytelling workshops.
My Mother's Light
By Lenee Son
Lenee Son explores how her mother's Cambodian origins have shaped their relationship. The story was produced by StoryTurns and Aaron Goodman.