Between 2012 and 2013 I had the incredible opportunity to help lead a recovery group in Pine City, MN. Nearly every Tuesday night for over a year, I was blown away by the stories I’d hear of what people have been through and how they’re finding hope and healing in their lives today.
The people I met as a part of this program come from a wide variety of backgrounds – everything from soccer moms to members of the Mexican Mafia – and they were struggling with a wide variety of hurts, habits and hang-ups. In the course of the time I spent with them, I came to deeply admire and respect their courage, bravery and perseverance.
I love hearing stories of how people have turned their lives around. By listening and being present with these people in the middle of their stories, in some small way I got to be a part of them, and that was a deeply humbling honor.
But the more stories I heard and the more people I talked to, the photographer in me began to notice that these people have faces that tell their stories all by themselves. The way they hold their eyes and body. The lines on their often weathered faces. The looks that hold both joy and hurt, intensity and surrender, pain and healing all at the same time.
I found myself drawn toward trying to document these expressions with my camera in a portrait series that's raw, honest and real. It was a simple set up for a simple idea: 1-2 lights. Monotone images. No retouching and minimal post-processing. Let the faces tell the stories.
These are stories worth telling, listening to and learning from, and as a result, I decided to become an advocate for them by producing a short film and portrait series about people that have been sober, abstinent or in recovery for 6 consecutive months.
My goal with these portraits is not only to promote recovery from addiction, but also raise awareness as to just how prevalent and pervasive of an issue this really is in our society. I asked each subject to write their story in their own words and then posted the portraits and their stories in a blog, which you can find here: http://sethhinrichsphotography.com/faces-of-recovery-blog/
These are the faces of those who have overcome and are overcoming. Their faces tell the story of where they've been and what's possible from where they were. Their words and their stories are their own, and I hope they are as inspirational to you as they are to me.
If you have been sober, abstinent or in recovery from your hurt, habit or hang-up for 6 consecutive months and want to be a part of this series, message me about how you can get involved! The series is growing and evolving every day and I’m excited by the possibilities.