Charlie Gross is a New York-based photographer, artist, and psychotherapist. (January 2019)

NYR DAILY

A Stay at Kings County

From Theo’s poem “Nonsequential”: The year death began to follow me. / In and out of every door… / The year memory is an ivy. / Slithering up my body. / Sprouting umbels of bitter fruit.

The psychiatry department of Kings County Hospital in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, serves one of the poorest, most at-risk, and most diverse populations in a borough that has otherwise become a byword for gentrification. Since 2017, I have been an artist-in-residence there, working on a photography project in its six-week partial hospitalization program for people transitioning from inpatient stays, getting to know the young adults in the program. I have focused on twenty-somethings out of an interest in youth culture, just as I work with adolescents in clinical settings on a daily basis (but not with a camera), and from my background as a photographer touring with rock bands. But it is really because I’m enlivened by the undimmed sense of youthful possibility lodged within the acute suffering found in the unit.