Uncle Charlie

PhotographerMarc Asnin
PrizeBronze in Book (series Only) / Documentary
Entry Description

Uncle Charlie says he never had a friend. That no one listened then, and no one listens now. I am the last guy standing. My uncle was born into dysfunction and he bred dysfunction throughout his life. Much like his father, Uncle Charlie has ended up by the window, a shell of himself, looking out onto a world that never had a place for him, waiting for a chance that didn't come. But he survived. Through it all, he survived. People often ask me what Uncle Charlie is about. After thirty years of photographing him one would think I would be able to easily sum it up. But this book is life, raw unintelligible life; the life of one man, my uncle, and as in life, there are no easy answers or summaries. It's about broken dreams, disappointment, and having the resiliency to find slivers of happiness in an oppressed existence. It's about consequences, missed opportunities, delusions and loss. . It's about a relationship between two men, from two generations, living very different lives, bound by family. It's a collaboration of sorts: his words and my images. It's my dance with my godfather. To be ignored in life and eventually forgotten in death is a terrible thing. I think this book has given my uncle the dignity to tell his own story in his own words, a chance to step up onto an imaginary stage before an anonymous audience and be heard. He has always considered his life an untold tragedy. He got the chance he always wanted: to be heard. In exchange, the world also gets the chance to look back in through the window that Charlie sits by everyday and see what's on the other side.