Episode 21: Ethically Documenting Drug Use Activism with Nigel Brunsdon
Sometimes, you’ll be reading a great piece on the drug overdose crisis that is just ruined by a crappy stock image of a gigantic syringe and a mountain of what is obviously flour or someone nodding out on the sidewalk. On this episode, Narcotica explores what accurate, tactful drug imagery should look like.
The team speaks with Nigel Brunsdon, the official/unofficial photographer of the modern day harm reduction movement, who is joining us via from the UK. He has shadowed the Chicago Recovery Alliance, Harm Reduction International, and many others on the front lines of the so-called drug war. His photos of the workers, advocates, people who use drugs, and the academics are loaded with grief, emotion, hope, and solidarity. He explains balancing privilege, relationships and representation of impacted communities through drug war photojournalism.
Follow Nigel on his website nigelbrunsdon.com and check out harmreductionphilosophy.com for more on how harm reduction works as an ideology.
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We talk a lot about this image that we used from Nigel for Episode 3, memorializing harm reduction activist Dan Bigg. Here it is for reference:
Producers: Christopher Moraff, Troy Farah, Zachary Siegel
Co-Producer: Aaron Ferguson
Music: Glass Boy and Aaron Ferguson
Image Credit: Nigel Brunsdon / Edit by Troy Farah