Vinny and David

Life and Incarceration of a Family

Vinny, age 15, and David, age 21, before a summer storm.

“Vinny and David” begins with Vinny, then 13, when he was incarcerated for stabbing his mother’s assailant, and shadows him and his older brother, David, age 19; the long-term photo essay focuses on the brothers’ lives in their family, community and respective incarcerations over five years in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The photo reportage also shadows their mother, Eve; her two younger children, Elysia and Michael; David’s girlfriend, Felicia, and their two children.

Vinny, age 13, shares his thoughts sitting in a juvenile detention center in New Mexico. Vinny confides, “When my mom was being beat up, I was so scared. I wanted to defend my mom. I’m tired of seeing my mom get hurt.” While in juvenile detention, Vinny’s older brother, David, age 19, is incarcerated in the adult county jail for the first time in 2012. He has since been incarcerated eight times for aggravated assault, for which he was deemed not guilty; distribution of marijuana; and car theft. David, who was introduced to drug dealing at age ten by his father, has been in and out of juvenile and adult correctional settings. Since 2012, David has been under government surveillance programs, including the pretrial system and probation. Since addiction is criminalized in the U.S., and drug possession charges are harshly treated in conservative states like New Mexico, his addiction, as well as his mother’s, kept them in a cycle of imprisonment. After being separated from his family by the courts from 2012 through 2014, Vinny left his aunt’s home and moved in with David. Vinny, now 18, has a 15-month-old daughter named Jordyn.

Vinny and David have grown up in an environment of loss and yet yearn for love and a restored family. In the midst of turmoil, Vinny and David try to embrace their youth. Vinny describes David as a father figure, and David views Vinny as the only person who appreciates him.

Vinny cries after sitting down in the unit at the juvenile detention center in Albuquerque, NM.

Vinny eats his first meal in the detention center cafeteria.

With David standing to her right and Elycia standing to her left, Eve cries after learning that the court will not allow Vinny to live with her.

Vinny prays inside his cell at the juvenile detention center.

Vinny, age 13, cries during a visit with his mom, Eve, at the juvenile detention center. Vinny says, "Get me out, Mom, just get me out."

Eve puts clothes on hangers, as Mark sits behind her.

Vinny, age 13, punches trashcans behind his aunt's home.

David shaves his father Dave's head before his trial.

Vinny carries his sister, Elycia, and his youngest brother, Michael, on his back as they play during an organized family visit at his aunt’s house.

Vinny reclines with his mom, Eve, on a blanket during a family visit at his aunt's house.

Vinny, age 15, squints as David, age 21, aims a BB gun at a pigeon during target practice on the side of Eve’s boyfriend’s apartment.

Vinny and David run at the foot of the mountains in Albuquerque.

David, age 19, cries in fear that the police will find him because of a warrant for his arrest.

David, age 19, sits in the recreation yard at the county jail in Albuquerque,

Felicia, age 20, and Lily, age 10 months, visit David, age 20, in jail.

David, Eve and Vinny huddle together in the parking lot of the Bernalillo County Court house after David is adjudicated not guilty of aggravated assault.

Felicia and David on the bed at the motel.

David kisses his daughter, Lilly, as Felicia straddles him at the park.

Eve lies next to her son, David, as he draws a clown in his notebook while he is hiding from the police because of a warrant.

Vinny and David tease each other as Vinny laughs.

Elycia, age 7, and Vinny, age 16, watch the sunset over Highway I-40.

Michael punches Elycia's cheek.

Elycia is breastfed by Eve.

Vinny, age 14, looks at David, age 20, and Lily at the end of their family visit.

David, age 21, looks at Vinny, age 15, as he smokes a cigarette on the bed. 

Eve holds Michael, age 8, in the motel's pool. "I want a hug. I want a hundred hugs a day," says Michael.

Eve, Elycia, Michael, Krystle, and Vinny, age 16, during a family visit at the motel room where Elycia and Michael reside with their father.

Vinny, age 18.

Vinny, age 18, and Krystle, age 32, kiss as a family member, Debbie, smokes pot next to them.

David, age 23, smokes a cigarette after a drug deal, as Vinny looks at him from inside the car.

Vinny, age 18, and David, age 24.

David, age 24.

David, age 21, comforts Vinny, age 16, after an item he made for his girlfriend is found broken.

Vinny, age 18, with his daughter Jordyn, age 15 months.

Felicia, age 21, laughs as David, age 21, holds her from behind.

Krystle, Felicia, Jordyn and Vinny gather outside where Krystle and Vinny reside with a friend.

Vinny, age 18, lies beside Jordyn, age 18 months, on the floor.