How much do you owe? – anonymous portraits about debt


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My submission to Longshot Magazine, a publication produced over 48 hours in late July 2011, was a humble effort that almost didn’t come to pass. When the theme was announced on Friday, I was flummoxed. Maybe portraits of payday lenders? Maybe a study of bank advertising? None of it struck me. Weather was bad in Boston, though, so it wouldn’t have been fun to take pictures on that Friday anyway. Waking up on Saturday, I was struck with an idea to ask people about how much money they owe. With a few hours before the deadline, I was striking out. No one was willing to be photographed and tell me how much money they owed. Then I decided rather than asking for a number, I would ask people to describe how much debt they have and that the portraits should be anonymous. Over about 45 minutes, ten or twelve people let me take their picture and told me about their debt. I squeaked in right under the wire, and thankfully, the editors like the project. I completed 12 portraits, and above, you’ll see 8. Four were published in the magazine.

All portraits are available at my archive: How much do you owe?

All content © 2005-2019 M. Scott Brauer
error: All images and text © M. Scott Brauer 2005-present