Darcy Padilla (www.darcypadilla.com) Early in my career after 12 internships at daily newspapers including The New York Times & The Washington Post, I decided to freelance and pursue my own documentary projects. For one of my first longterm stories, I spent a year visiting an isolation ward at a maximum-security prison in Vacaville, California, photographing inmates with AIDS.
That project received the first Alexia Grant For World Peace & Understanding, bolstering my commitment to my life’s work. AIDS and its consequences became part of them when I spent three years photographing residents of transient hotels in one of the poorest neighborhoods in San Francisco. I saw all the consequences of poverty – loneliness, broken families, drugs, and the devastation of HIV. This project received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship.
While I juggle several passions at once, my enduring study has been the life of one woman I met in the Tenderloin 17 years ago. This project is one that has set a direction for my approach to photography.