Participated in Momenta ProjectDC workshop in 2013
Ronald Coles, 30, stands near the home where he grew up in the Trinidad neighborhood of Northeast Washington, DC, on December 21, 2016. As a teenager, Coles got involved in street life and was incarcerated at age 19 for a violent crime. After returning to prison several times for parole violations, he is now participating in the Aspire to Entrepreneurship program and working to start his own trucking and hauling business. @Kristin Adair
Tell us about your journey as an image-maker and how you got to where you are today.
I’ve had a passion for photography since I was a kid, but took a winding journey through a career in non-profit advocacy. About 5 years ago, decided to make a career change towards visual storytelling. I am currently completing my MA in New Media Photojournalism from the Corcoran School of the Arts & Design at GWU in Washington, DC.
Will Avila (center), 29, and his employee and mentee Melvin Andrade deep clean the kitchen at a trendy cafe in Northeast DC on March 6, 2016. Avila is the CEO of Clean Decisions, a small business he founded in 2013 after returning from prison. Avila was first incarcerated as an adult at the age of 16 for a violent crime, and has spent more than a decade in and out of the system, struggling to find a stable job and housing and abide by the strict conditions of his parole. Now his company employs several other returning citizens full-time. @Kristin Adair
What stories or issues are you most passionate about covering?
My passion is for creating collaborative multimedia stories that drive social change. I have partnered with non-profits to tell stories about youth empowerment, mental health, LGBT rights and criminal justice. I am deeply committed to a long-term project about the experiences and challenges facing young people who have been in prison and are working to break the cycle of violence and incarceration.
Sakenia Hammond (left) helps her family cook Thanksgiving dinner at her sister’s apartment in Washington, DC, on November 24, 2016. Hammond, who returned home in May 2016 after 16 years incarcerated for a violent crime she committed at the age of 18, celebrated the holiday for the first time outside of prison since she was a teenager. @ Kristin Adair
Where do you look for inspiration for your work: books, movies, authors, photographers, art, certain people?
So many favorite photographers… Rebecca Norris Webb, Alec Soth, Gordon Parks, Ron Haviv, many others.
Lots of documentaries! A few favorites: Rich Hill, 13th, Born Into Brothels.
Victor Blanco washes his hands during a Saturday breakfast gathering at a home in Southeast DC, on May 7, 2016. Blanco, 34, was among the first participants in a new non-profit program called Changing Perceptions, which launched in 2016 to support formerly incarcerated individuals with mentorship, job training and community support. @Kristin Adair
What social media or news feeds do you follow regularly?
NY Times Lens Blog, NPR (radio and visual), Magnum photographers
What is one passion you have outside of photography that might come as a surprise to our readers?
Practicing and teaching yoga
What can we expect to see this week from your guestagramming on our Momenta Instagram account?
I am excited to share images and multimedia clips from my long-term project, Becoming Free. Becoming Free is a multimedia exploration of life after incarceration for young people in Washington, DC. The project looks intimately at the experience of coming home from prison after years or decades behind bars during the crucial time of transition from youth to adulthood.