She started the project as a college student, now one UMBC grad is reflecting on a year’s worth of photos she took at different crime scenes throughout Baltimore.
Amy Berbert says the lessons she’s learned from the sidewalks in the city are as innumerable as the yards of crime scene tape, or the markers tallying every bullet, or the families left in pain from violence.
“If we want something to change, then we need to not just see the victims as human beings, we also, as a society, need to start seeing the people committing the crimes as human beings,” Berbert, now nearing the end of her project, said.
Ten months ago, she was on North Stricker Street snapping away at 2016’s 22nd homicide.
Now, she’s nearing 310 – as passionate now as she was then.
It’s an effort to keep the memory of those killed alive, going from crime scene to crime, taking lasting pictures that started as a class project to shine light on Baltimore’s violent reputation.
It’s now something more.
“I feel like that’s exactly what happens when one of the people is killed. They get a couple of lines in the newspaper. People in the neighborhood are upset about it. The police are there. The news might be there and then like a week or two later, certainly a year later, no one is remembering it,” Berbert said.
“Keeping people aware that this is still going on. I think that’s the biggest thing. I’m not sure how that’ll look in a few years,” she said.
However she decides, it’s a body of work with a simple truth she wants felt through every photo.
“…compassion and value for life and empathy,” Berbert said.
Amy says she isn’t sure if she’ll hand the project off, but she already has plans on working on taking pictures of this year’s homicides next year.
However, she says she won’t be snapping photos during the exact time when the shootings happened as she did this time around.