Photographer João Coelho is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography. From the project ‘BULLETS TO THE SKY – Part I – Broken Dreams’. To see João’s body of work, click on any image.
This project documents the life and relationships of a gang who gather every day in an abandoned house to share drugs, food, and a place to spend the night. More than showing dramatic scenes of the drug world, I intend my narrative to raise questions such as: what led these young people to come together in a gang and live under the yoke of drugs? Why were they forced to live on the margins of society? How does drugs, a stigma in any society, break down family and social bonds? What would need to be done to prevent young people like these from descending so deep into this abyss? What will be their future?
They are outcasts from society not because they want to be, but because the system they live in has forced them into it. Most of them have abandoned their families in the villages and small towns in the countryside, attracted by the illusion of getting jobs and a prosperous life in the city.
After seeing countless doors close before them, and realizing the harsh reality, all they can do is wander alone through the city, living off odd jobs and petty theft. Now, the city that attracted them shows how insensitive and cruel it is, throwing them into a dark underworld where only the strongest survive.
They soon got to know the taste and dependence on drugs, which gradually led them into a deeper and deeper pit where the light of reality is more and more distant and faint.
Yet, despite living a lonely existence during the day, they gather in this house at dusk, as if looking for something akin to a home. They fraternally share whatever food and drugs they can get, and they play and support each other as if they need to relive the memories of a lost youth.
Every day they feel the need to travel to a world far from the one they live in, and drugs are like the ticket they have to pay to reach it. Maybe in that world, where they don’t feel permanently harried, they will find what the city refused to give them. Maybe when they wake up they will feel that this trip is nothing more than a broken dream that they have to live again in the evening.
All images and text © João Coelho
BULLETS TO THE SKY – Part II – The King Still Reigns
By João Coelho
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