2008 Photo Contest, Daily Life, 1st prize

Justin Maxon

Aurora Photos

01 January, 2007

Ly Thi Mui (34) and her son Trun Van Pha (5) help each other bathe in the Red River. They have been homeless for five years. Mui lost her first husband to a heroin overdose and her second husband is in a mental institution. She fears she may have been infected with HIV by her first husband. Traditionally in Vietnam, a man's family would look after his widow, but Mui has been rejected by both her husbands' families and has to fend for herself. She and Pha sleep on straw mats on the ground and scavenge through garbage for their food. Mui finds some comfort in her Buddhist beliefs and tries to teach Pha that living simply, without worldly possessions, offers a form of freedom.

About the photographer

Justin Maxon

A visual artist and documentarian, his work often reveals variables of truth in humanity’s conflicted existence. His eight-year project in Chester, PA, has been funded through g...

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