2011 Photo Contest, Contemporary Issues, Stories, 2nd prize

The Julie Project

Photographer

Darcy Padilla

For 18 years the photographer documented the life of Julie Baird, whom she met by chance in San Francisco. Julie was then 18 and HIV positive, with a newborn child and a history of drug abuse.

About the photographer

Darcy Padilla

Darcy Padilla is a photojournalist and documentary photographer living in San Francisco, California. Her awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Awar...

Background story

Anchorage, Alaska, USA

In 2005, Julie moved to Valdez, Alaska, to be reunited with her father, after responding to an internet posting by her uncle, but she was hospitalized only a week after making the trip. For 18 years the photographer documented the life of Julie Baird, whom she met by chance in San Francisco. Julie was then 18 and HIV positive, with a newborn child and a history of drug abuse. The photographer aimed to provide an in-depth look at poverty, Aids and other social issues by focusing on one woman’s struggle. Later, she wanted the project also to be a record for Julie’s children of their mother’s story, after Julie lost custody and had to give them up for adoption.

Photo credit:
Redux Pictures

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