BALTIMORE (WJZ) — There have been more than 300 murders in Baltimore already this year. Last year, 318 were killed. It’s a staggering number of lives lost.
And one young artist is responding by taking a picture of every crime scene from every murder that happened in 2016 at the same time and place, just one year later. Her project is called “Stains On The Sidewalk.”
“I just return to the block of and take a picture,” Amy Berbert says. “If I can figure out where exactly it happened I’ll stick to that spot. If not, then I pick a spot that resonates with me in some way… I want people to feel the impact of the issue and I also want people to look at each individual image and see each individual image as an individual person that had a family and had friends.”
Amoni Grossman, a 19-year-old who was murdered August 14, 2016, had family and friends who were celebrating his life when Berbert arrived to take the commemorative photo. He was the 218th murder of 2016.
“That’s a great name, Stains On The Sidewalk, I love the name she’s came up with,” says Latresa Scaff, Amoni’s mother. “That’s all we have.”
“Personally I think enough white people have photographed black male bodies and I don’t want to contribute to that unless it’s in a very strategic way,” Berbert says. “I stand there and remember this person and think, ‘A year ago at this moment someone was dying here.'”
Berbert’s images are haunting. sometimes even beautiful. But, what can they achieve?
“I think a lot of people are being moved by the photos and I think that’s at least a first step,” she says.
Berbert has gained national attention for her project and although she won’t take the last photo of the series until December 31, there’s already talk of turning it into a book.
To see Berbert’s photos, follow her on Instagram.