If you are walking through New York’s East Village, you may find a group of street wanderers. These, photographer Steven Hirsch says, are the Crustypunks. He started a project several years ago to capture candid portraits, letting them tell their stories. Here is one of them:
»My father was an attempted cop killer, he was doing twenty years to life for shooting a police officer three times. He was serving five years in CCI corrections and my mother met him visiting my uncle who was an incarcerated Hell’s Angels. As my mom would tell you, she fucking fell in love with a felon. Got a petition with three thousand signatures on it and got my dad released in five years served, five years probation. He got out impregnated my mom. I was born two months premature and I was dying.
I got into punk rock music and squatting when I was thirteen years old. By fifteen I had been in jail, was kicked out of high school and I had a son on the way. In two thousand one, January third, my son Seth Alan Parker was born. At that moment I knew that I would never stick a needle in my arm or ride a train or ever do anything that would ever threaten me being there for him. I’ve traveled all over America, just not on trains. I’ve stayed in the dirtiest squat houses. I’ve cried over dead friends. I’ve cried over live friends. When I was eighteen years old we started a crew, it’s called the Dirty South Crew. We’re all family. We’re all poor, white trash squatters, scum fucks, losers, throwaway kids. Some of my friends died from overdoses. Some of them killed themselves. Some of my friends are still alive and wish they were dead. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one left that’s still normal. I look around me and just see all this disease and drugs and just hopelessness.
I don’t see these racists, these capitals, these sexist, these homophobes, these class action you know yuppies tearing us apart. I really hope all these kids stop sticking needles in their arms and start putting ideas in their fucking heads cause they’re losing their souls and it’s breaking my heart.«