This Life I Lead is a long-form photo essay following Shanon Fulcher as he navigates the ups and downs of life in Oakland California over three years. From the mundane moments that make up the fabric of everyday to Shanon's battle with drug addiction and his eventual incarceration, I provide a window into Shanon’s life in the rapidly changing streets of the Bay Area.
The last time I saw Shanon Fulcher, I spent 15 minutes with him in his cell at the Glenn Dyer detention facility in downtown Oakland, a few days before I left California. Shanon gleefully showed me around his one-room world. We chatted for a bit and then got straight to making images. As three guards stood outside the door, watching our every move, and "Back To The Future" blasted from a TV somewhere in the distance, Shanon moved around the tiny space--sitting, standing, and allowing me to make photos.
I first met Shanon 3 years before in front of the downtown Oakland city hall. Shanon became my confidante in a world where I had little to no experience. Shanon grew up in LA and was a member of the gang, The Bloods. He had been to prison several times before coming to Oakland, CA, where he had family and hope for a new future.
But even here, he continued to struggle. As my relationship with Shanon evolved, I decided--with his permission--to focus my project entirely on him. I documented his way through drug rehab programs, rekindling his relationship with his daughter, living with a mental illness and forging a path in the quickly gentrifying Bay Area where the wealth gap is comparable to that of a developing country.