The needle was already on the record when I woke up yesterday morning. I'd abruptly stopped the vinyl the night before and picked back up where I had left off. The first song that played was one that I'd listened to hundreds of times over the last 10 years, so I easily could have let the words meld into the background as white noise, but that wasn't meant to be. Three and a half minutes of the song played before this line stopped me in my tracks, groggy eyed, but awake.
In the context of the song, it makes a lot more sense, but ultimately, it's a conversation between the singer and God, as he feels unworthy, unlovable, and untrustworthy. That particular line really got to me, as in the past, I've really felt unlovable due to my own unhealthy addictions. Namely, sex and the repercussions of using it as a "drug". We talk openly about alcohol and drug addictions, but anything to do with sexual addiction and issues gets swept under the rug. Already, there are probably some of you who are checking out. Too heavy. Too uncomfortable. Too personal. Sex is literally SOLD to us all day long, so what's the "issue" with it? The answer? A whole lot. It becomes devalued. It can ruin lives, because of that desire and demand for it.
Which brings me to my subject for this portrait, and someone who I immediately thought of when this subject matter came into my head. As most of you know, I now live in Yakima, WA, which is an agricultural capital of the state, but it also has a dark side. The sex trafficking industry has deep roots here and it's tied largely to the drug and gang world that exists in a few pockets around town. I asked the question tonight, of "Why, here?" and the answer given back was.... "Demand". The demand for sex is at an all time high, the desensitization of it creates larger issues, the accessibility of porn has never been greater, and ultimately, we as a society don't talk about these issues with real comfortable discourse.
Knowledgable about this industry, because she was sold and trafficked herself at a young adult age, Nina is now an advocate for the young people who are susceptible to this industry, from bikini baristas, to former porn industry workers. Nina doesn't hide this, in fact, she talks openly about it, because as uncomfortable as it is, without discussion, the dark side of sex will only get darker. Our greatest assets in this world...our children, are being subjected to the horrors of sex slavery at ages that would make you cringe.
But all was not lost and Nina has found salvation in the only way that we can, while also finding a calling by helping the lost and overlooked. Her and her husband are actively involved in helping people affected by sex, from trafficking to addiction and this was why I needed her for this part of my project.
#UntilWeMeetAgainProject Day 23. I shot the above image with my Nikon D800 and a Sigma 24mm f/2.8. ISO 800, aperture at f/2.8 and shutter speed at 1/1500th of a second. Assistance and helpful artistic vision by Vaughn Vickers, Nina's husband. Song inspiration by Underoath, off of the album "They're only chasing safety", titled Some Will Seek Forgiveness, Others Escape. If you'd like to check out an organization that Nina does work with, check out Barista Love on Facebook.