20 years after receiving the W. Eugene Smith Grant award, the “Uncle Charlie” long-term documentary project is now a book published by Contrasto. Uncle Charlie is the culmination of more than thirty years of work by photographer Marc Asnin. For those who have seen snippets of the Uncle Charlie project in magazines ranging from Mother Jones to D Magazine and Life, the story will be familiar. By the early 1980s when Asnin was studying photography, the reality of his uncle’s life had trampled his boyhood fantasy. As a child Asnin was motivated by his admiration of Uncle Charlie as a big, streetwise strong guy with a gun. Charlie and his five children (Charles, Joe, Brian, Mary, and Jamie) lived together in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Frail, depressed and emotionally vacant, unable to work, unable to even leave his apartment, Charles Henschke became the shell of a human being.
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