Culture of Health Prize winner Lake County, Colorado for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

For the past 7 years, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has awarded the Culture of Health Prize to American communities that are pursuing innovative ideas and creating solutions to put good health within everyone’s reach. This summer, I photographed one of the five winning communities: Lake County, Colorado, nestled amongst the highest peaks of the Rocky Mountains. The area is characterized by a rich mining history that ended when the last mine closed in 1995, devastating the local economy. After struggling with poor health outcomes for children and teens and failing schools, the county has turned itself around in the last ten years with the strength of its partnerships between county government agencies, local nonprofits, grassroots activists and engaged youth, particularly amongst Latinx residents, who make up a third of the population.

No matter the issue, the county uses a tried-and-true formula to improve the lives of its residents: review data, engage many voices, make a plan, act on it together, measure success.

You can read more about the Culture of Health Prize winners here.

Cristina Reveles and her 19 year old son Brayhan in front of the new pedestrian crosswalk that connects Colorado Mountain College with Lake County High School across Highway 24 in Leadville, Colorado. The project was initiated by Brayhan, a Colorado Mountain College student and Healthy Eating/Active Living coordinator at Lake County Build a Generation and his mother Cristina, who has advocated for safe routes to schools since Brayhan was a child.
The Lake Fork manufactured housing park in Leadville, Colorado. Many residents work in the tourism industry in surrounding resort towns like Breckenridge and Vail.
Alma Macias, Anabel Dominguez and Rosa Lopez stand on the busy state-owned highway next to the Mountain View manufactured housing park in Leadville, Colorado. After participating in the Family Leadership Training Institute 20 week civic engagement program they raised community support to build a new playground at the housing park, worked with the fire department to install fire and carbon monoxide detectors and advocated for a safe pedestrian crossing on the highway.
Juan Manuel Perea, 11 plays on the playground at the Mountain View manufactured housing park in Leadville, Colorado. His mother and other residents who participated in the Family Leadership Training Institute 20 week civic engagement program have raised community support to build a new playground at the housing park.
Becca Katz leads a Taking Kids Outdoors workshop for Lake County School District staff at Ice Palace Park in Leadville, Colorado. The 3.5 hour workshop by Get Outdoors Leadville! helps educators develop a toolkit for how to teach kids outdoors effectively including planning/prep, student management, risk management, Leave No Trace, and practicing inclusivity in outdoor spaces.
Jackie Radilla and Cisco Tharp organize camping gear at the Get Outdoors Leadville! community Gear Library, which shares gear and outdoor recreation knowledge at low-to-no cost, reducing barriers to getting outdoors and recreating in Lake County, Colorado. Radilla is the Community Hub Coordinator and manager of GOL! Gear Library and Tharp is the Healthy Kids Director.
Lake County High School senior and student rep Michaela Sanchez gives updates about the beginning of the school year at a meeting of the Lake County School District Board of Directors in Leadville, Colorado.
9th and 10th graders from Lake County High School spend the day at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville, Colorado for an Outdoor Community Building Day to focus on strengthening bonds within school “crews”. The goals for the day include building a sense of each crew as a family within the larger school family and fostering a relationship with a trusted adult (crew leader).
Lani Meyer, farm manager of Cloud City Farm and Kendra Kurihara, Executive Director of Cloud City Conservation Center, examine cucumbers growing in the geodesic dome greenhouse at the farm in Leadville, Colorado. Partners in Lake County have taken steps to address the county’s status as a “food swamp,” where unhealthy food outlets outnumber healthy ones 17 to 1. Cloud City Farm aims to boost healthful options. In 2018, its first year of production, the farm provided more than 1,200 pounds of locally grown produce to the community via a farm stand, donations to a local church’s meals program, and vouchers for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, participants. 
Lani Meyer and Kim Jackson, examine the compost bin at Cloud City Farm and Conservation Center which offers community compost drop-off, providing soil for the farm in Leadville, Colorado.
Amanda Good rides her bike during a family trail ride with the Cloud City Wheelers, a bike club which promotes cycling opportunities, and has been building and maintaining trail systems in Leadville and Lake County, Colorado since 2007.
Howard Tritz, an 83-year-old former employee of the Climax Mine, walks on the Mineral Belt Trail, an 11.6 mile all-season biking/walking trail that loops around Leadville, Colorado and through its historic mining district.
Lake County High School students take a semester long fly fishing class at Crystal Lake outside of Leadville, Colorado through a partnership between Lake County High School and Get Outdoors Leadville! Three days a week the students are in class learning about fly rod construction and two days a week they go out and fish at various local places with instructor Colin McFee.
A Lake County High School student writes during a Wilderness Experience class at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville, Colorado. The dual-enrollment course offers Lake County High School students the opportunity to earn both high school and college credit while learning leadership, camping, and backcountry travel skills. The course is taught by Becca Katz of Get Outdoors Leadville! and Cooper Mallozzi, professor of Outdoor Education at Colorado Mountain College.

Justice Rivera for Open Society Foundations

In June, I photographed Justice Rivera around downtown Seattle for Open Society Foundations.  Rivera is one of 17 winners of the 2019 Soros Justice Fellowship, an award of $1.5 million dollars that supports policy advocates, lawyers, grassroots organizers and scholars whose projects advance a more accountable criminal justice system. 

Rivera is writing a book illustrating how the war on sex trafficking is a continuation of the war on drugs. She is a partner with Reframe Health and Justice, where she works to advance public health and human rights approaches to drug use, sex work, violence and labor.

Homeless at Christmas for the Guardian

At the end of last year, I was commissioned to photograph and interview people about what it is like to be homeless during the holidays in collaboration with Candice Pires.  I am grateful to everyone who shared their story with us and to the organizations and volunteers that are doing incredible work for Seattle and Portland’s most vulnerable populations, including Mary’s Place, Aurora Commons, Tent City 5, Street Roots, and Sisters of the Road.

Read their stories here.

Brandie Osborne, 44, Seattle:

In seven years of being homeless, I’ve never had my own Christmas tree. Before I got this one I’d been saying to my boyfriend, “It sucks, I just don’t feel in the holiday spirit.” I grew up with my grandparents and everything was always decorated to the nines. Our tree looked like Martha Stewart’s, a real showpiece. My daughter was brought up the same way, with lots of presents and a big Christmas dinner.

I haven’t had any of that stuff for a long time. I became homeless because my fiancé at the time got injured at work and we didn’t have any savings. Slowly but surely we couldn’t pay our bills and everything concaved on us. I sent my daughter to live with a friend of the family, but my fiancé and I ended up living in our car before it got repossessed. I actually had a lot of sentimental Christmas ornaments handed down but could no longer afford storage and lost them along with most of my belongings.

This Christmas I just really wanted something to make me feel good and make other people smile. Then the other day I was walking back from the laundromat with a neighbor, pushing my grocery cart full of clothes, and I saw this tree leaning up against a building with a big sign that said, ‘Free live tree.’ I straightaway picked it up, put it over my shoulders and carried it home.

My boyfriend wants to just put it in a milk crate with a paper bag, but I’m going to make a proper stand for it. I have some fake Christmas presents that I’ll put under it. And if I can somehow manage to make about $10, I can get four strings of battery-operated lights to put around it. After Christmas I’ll plant it and hopefully in 40 years The Jungle will still be here and I won’t, but I’ll come back to visit and the tree will be big and tall.

Homeless couples tell their love stories in the Guardian

My project with Candice Pires about love on the streets was published by the Guardian US as part of their one of a kind series on the homeless crisis here on the West Coast called “Outside in America”. Proud to be involved and grateful to the couples who shared their love stories with us.

“Being homeless has taught us how to be a lot more vulnerable with each other, and that’s allowed us to work through some of our communication problems. We’ve gone through so much together now that we know we’ll always be there for each other in the future. One of the most difficult things about being homeless and in a relationship is not having privacy. Our tent is next to other people’s and we don’t want them to hear us so we’ve sometimes avoided issues until they explode.” -Aleesa Christopher, Camp Second Chance, Seattle

Read their stories here.

Christopher and Jackie, Camp Second Chance, Seattle, Washington
Brian and Melissa, Hazelnut Grove, Portland, Oregon
Aleesa and Hunnie, Camp Second Chance, Seattle, Washington
Lakenya and William, Camp Second Chance, Seattle, Washington

Notions of Home Exhibition at PCNW

My series on homeless couples is featured in the “Notions of Home” exhibition at Photographic Center Northwest in Seattle, Washington.

September 14 – December 10, 2017

Opening Reception: September 14, 6-8pm

Photographic Center Northwest

900 12th Avenue

Seattle, WA 98122

Curated by Michelle Dunn Marsh

www.pcnw.org

Notions of Home speaks to the complex realities of what home means for each individual, within our city, and in America today. “Home” encompasses a sense of identity that could be formed by blood, tribe, race, sexual orientation, gender, religion, or statehood; a geographic environment; a physical structure; our planet, and so much more. As many in our city face a scarcity of affordable living, or a change in paperwork and policies affecting their ability to call a place home, we look to photography to do what it does best: engage, reveal, provoke, and elucidate various viewpoints on this topic.

Featured Notions of Home artists include:

Corey Arnold, Will Austin, Tim Barney, Zack Bent,  Erin Elyse Burns, Elinor Carruci, Adrain Chesser, Neil Chowdury, Annabel Clark, Elliott Erwitt, Joe Freeman, Paulo Gonzales, Cian Hayes, Daniel Hawkins, Thomas Holton, Eirik Johnson, Hiroyo Kaneko, Lisa Kereszi, Natalie Krick, Harini Krishnamurthy, Chris Letcher, Emily Hanako Momohara, Annie Marie Musselman, Canh Nguyen, Anna Ream, Jenny Riffle, Serrah Russell, Ross Sawyers, Rafael Soldi, María Sprowls, Peggy Washburn, Eva Sköld Westerlind, and others.

Courtney Waldon for People Magazine

Last month, I spent the day with burn survivor Courtney Waldon on assignment for People Magazine.  It has been almost a year since a backyard fire pit accident nearly took her life and led to the end of her marriage.  After 10 surgeries and a rigorous rehab program to relearn how to walk and eat, she returned home to her parent’s property in Waco, Georgia where she and her 5 year old daughter Caroline are rebuilding their lives with the love and support of her family and church community.  Beautiful story by Caitlin Keating.  Published in the September 11 issue.  Online version here.

“Caroline is the reason I wake up every single day.  She was my reason to learn how to do stuff, to eat in the hospital, to come home, because I missed her so much.  I didn’t ever want her to think that I would just up and leave her by choice…I am finally able to feel like a mom again.  That’s been the biggest milestone for me.” – Courtney Waldon

All photographs ©Annabel Clark 2017