Alabama. Together, we interviewed and photo- graphed over three dozen people who use meth by Jared Ragland and live on Sand Mountain, a community infa- BETWEEN 2015 AND 2017, I partnered with mous for its extreme poverty, poultry processing University of Alabama at Birmingham sociology plants, Pentecostal snake handlers, and meth pro- professor Heith Copes to create an ethnogra- duction. Our goal was to record the stories of an phy of methamphetamine use in rural Northeast often derided and misunderstood population and 172 • southerncultures.org // SNAPSHOT unsuccessful search for a vein. As blood filled the syringe and tears began to fall down her cheeks, Willow’s mood shifted from excitement to deter- mination, frustration to embarrassment. Finally, af- ter what seemed an eternity of sticks and jabs, she looked up at me and said, “Fuck you, asshole. You’re making me nervous. I can’t do this with you in here taking pictures.” And with that, I left the room. Once outside, a wave of guilt, heartbreak, and complicity in this harmful act washed over me. By being there, by making these photographs, I was confronted with difficult questions: was I helping to end suffering or perpetuating it? How would these
Southern Cultures – University of North Carolina Press
Published: Mar 21, 2020
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