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In What I Keep Susan Mullally presents an unforgettable photographic study of twenty-first century poverty--one that transcends class and race, profession and talent. A compassionate visual survey, these portraits capture the individuals who gather on Sunday mornings at a nondenominational, multicultural church that has been meeting below an Interstate overpass for sixteen years. Those who attend Waco, Texas's Church Under the Bridge have experienced periods of homelessness or incarceration, addiction to drugs or alcohol, mental illness, or profound poverty and, almost always, deep periods of hopelessness. Yet from the homeless carpenter with four college degrees and the children's counselor to a former state tennis champion and a mayoral candidate, the portraits that fill the pages of this book display their subjects with dignity and respect. In these photographs, each member holds one personal item--the one item that he or she keeps while struggling to survive. Accompanying each portrait, a brief statement from the individual describes the valuable item and its significance in his or her own words. A disabled computer technician "hangs on" to hand-painted plates that remind him of his family. A retired cosmetologist treasures an "antique" 7-Up bottle passed down through her family for generations. Fraught with a raw emotion that can stir even the most insensate of souls, What I Keep is a remarkable portraiture of humanity.
Baylor University Press
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