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Featured Work: Heroin Not Chic

 

The opioid crisis is no secret; it has affected most of the population in some way. Crystal Lewis wanted to channel her experience into something that emphasized the humanity of a woman descending into the darkness of addiction.

 
 

Editor’s note: When photographer Gina Weathersby reached out to me about publishing this photo shoot, my first priority was making sure addiction was addressed in a respectful manner. Addiction is a disease, not a spectacle or a fashion trend. Crystal’s story and courage helped me understand this was something that could and should be shared as a step toward healing— for her, and anyone else who needs it.

Crystal, why did you want to portray addiction in this light?

I am an alcoholic/addict in recovery, and I’ve lost many friends due to opioids, whether it be their life or their personality. The crisis hits very close to home for me. I also volunteer AA meetings at the Center for Addiction Treatment (CAT) house, and most of the women have no idea how AA or NA works. Some hate that we are there, but there is always that one who lights up. They don’t want to live that life, and never really have.

How did you come up with this concept?

I had been thinking about the shoot for over a year, I just couldn’t grasp the concept in my head. I talked with makeup artist Anne Taylor, who has also been closely affected by this crisis, as well as her daughter Jaclyn Laravie. They were both immediately on board. Anne and I spoke with Gina while working on a different project, and she was game to shoot… [We] just went forward from there with open minds.


 
 

”There were only three basic setups to show the three stages—and then the last two close ups. We shot at Spring Grove Cemetery and looked for locations that matched the 'stages' we shot.”

- Photographer Gina Weathersby

 
 
“The models 100% brought this shoot to life. They took the direction to a whole new level. The emotion and depth that they pulled from gave me goosebumps the entire day.”  - Photographer Gina Weathersby

“The models 100% brought this shoot to life. They took the direction to a whole new level. The emotion and depth that they pulled from gave me goosebumps the entire day.”

- Photographer Gina Weathersby

 
 
“Personally, though I have been lucky enough to not have experienced this or a similar type of addiction, I felt a strong connection to this shoot. In sharing it's message I hope it helps even one human soul, if not many.”  - Photographer Gina Weathersby

“Personally, though I have been lucky enough to not have experienced this or a similar type of addiction, I felt a strong connection to this shoot. In sharing it's message I hope it helps even one human soul, if not many.”

- Photographer Gina Weathersby

 
 
“It was a complete honor to have been a part of this extraordinary visual story and bigger-than-ourselves message.”  - Photographer Gina Weathersby

“It was a complete honor to have been a part of this extraordinary visual story and bigger-than-ourselves message.”

- Photographer Gina Weathersby

 
 

Photographer: Gina Weathersby
Concept: Crystal Lewis
Makeup: Anne Taylor and Jaclyn Laravie
Wardrobe: Jaclyn Laravie
Photo Assistant and Post-production: Sam Stamler
Models: Kara and Riana with NV Models & Talent
Location: Spring Grove Cemetery

Big thanks to Gina and Crystal for sharing this imagery. If you or someone you know needs help, please visit riseupnews.org for a list of resources.

For more photo, beauty, and model talent, check out the Tether Directory.