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Meeting the Privilege

This issue continues a run of powerful photodocumentary work for VQR, beginning with Michael O. Snyder’s narrative portrait of drag-queen culture in a northern Appalachian town in the 2023 Spring/Summer double issue, followed in the Fall by Robin Alysha Clemens’s chronicle of a homeless community in western Ukraine transformed by the war. Here we feature Lynn Johnson’s visual saga of families who use medicinal cannabis to treat medically fragile children. Each of these projects powerfully articulates the ways in which people respond to the intense pressures that bear down on them. What’s more, each reflects a years-long commitment to building the singular experience we find in longitudinal storytelling.

Milad Ahkabyar's hand-drawn map of his family's route from Afghanistan to Germany. The journey cost them $26,000, which they raised through selling their home, their livestock, jewelry, whatever they could.

Milad’s Arrival

He doesn’t know his birthday, exactly, because the Gregorian calendar is still a puzzle. But he knows his age, more or less, and he knows where he hails from—a village near Ghazni, Afghanistan, which he visits in dreams now and then. Milad Ahkabyar and his family fled their village in the fall of 2015 to escape persecution from the Taliban. 

Diane Arbus: Portrait of a Photographer. By Arthur Lubow. Ecco, 2016. 734 p. HB, $35.

Street Casting

What kind of energy do we get from the streets? What does it give us and how much do we need it? The publication of Arthur Lubow’s biography, Diane Arbus: Portrait of a Photographer, and a national tour of Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic, a career retrospective of the artist’s work organized by the Brooklyn Museum in 2015,* highlight how certain artists are able to tap into street energy, and what they extract from it.