"Uncle Charlie was my favorite uncle. He’s my godfather. My grandfather was a grade-A hood, hustling, pimping women, abusive. My mother got out, but Uncle Charlie never did. My mother made sure I had an education. I went to art school. In 1981, I started realizing that my uncle was an interesting person to take pictures of, and it became my family album. Charlie is fifty-one years old now and his life is a mess. He blames his kids, he blames his ex-wife, he blames my mother—he thinks he is the ultimate victim. I know enough about his life to know how he got there, but emotionally I can’t cut him any slack. I know it’s because he had an abusive childhood, but that doesn’t give you the right to fuck up your kids. Still, you know, I feel for him. He’ll always be my Uncle Charlie."
Marc Asnin has been photographing his Uncle Charlie for over thirty years. Charlie and his five children (Charles, Joe, Brian, Mary, and Jamie) lived together in Bushwick, Brooklyn. This is the story of his tattos, his guns, his uneployment, his illness, his poverty, and his drug problems.