For a long time, my major concern for this project on a Christian addiction recovery centre was getting access. In fact, getting approval from the guy who runs it and some of the guys who live there was only the very first step.
It’s a difficult place to work – there’s a lot of anger and despair, and a lot of suspicion towards me, which is only natural. Anonymity is an important part of the way the place works, so I’m going to have to change the names of everyone who takes part, and make sure that their family members or friends can’t be identified.
But it poses another problem for me in that those people who don’t want to take part are really averse to appearing in any picture and it’s very difficult to persuade them that I can include them in a way that means they can’t be identified. This will make some of the shots I want – the residents interacting with each other, eating together, and particularly going to church on Easter Sunday together – almost impossible.
I’m going slowly, interviewing and photographing one-on-one with those who are keen to take part, and hoping that I can change the group’s opinion enough to make the other shots a possibility.