This project began when I met Jim Diamond on the street in lower Manhattan. He approached me because he saw that I was taking pictures and made it clear that he wanted to be photographed. He also let it be known that he was a cocaine dealer.
The night that I spent with Jim was fevered and chaotic. Jim’s phone rang constantly – a soft ambient tone alerted him to a call and Jim, sweaty, frantic, almost rabid, would answer often cursing loudly into the other end. I followed Jim through the streets, as he screamed about cocaine deals, met with people quickly in phone booths, he seemed to know everyone. With Jim I explored a hidden archipelago of the lower Manhattan’s underground economy: an upscale apartment, two cocaine-filled parties, the owner of an escort service operated from a fancy hotel room. And eventually, 4 West 22nd Street – an elegant narrow building across from the famous Flatiron in Manhattan. At the end of my third evening with Jim, as we rode the elevator to the ninth floor of this building, he braced me for what I would see inside. The elevator doors opened directly into a large apartment and a series of hushed exchanges landed us in a bedroom off of the hallway. Inside, it was dark and yellowish brown. Four or five people sat on piles of clothing or broken furniture and trash covered the floor. This is where the story of these photographs began.
Jessica Dimmock is the recipient of numerous international awards, including the F Award for Concerned Photography, Magnum Foundation Inge Morath Award, and the Photo District News Marty Forscher Fellowship. In 2007, her first monograph, The Ninth Floor, was published by Contrasto. Her solo shows have exhibited at Forma: The International Center of Photography; Foam: The Photography Museum of Amsterdam; and the Foley Gallery in Chelsea. Group shows include The Aperture Foundation, Kunsthaus, Dresden and Randall Scott Gallery in Washington, D.C.
Jessica was commissioned by the Grammy Award–winning artist Moby to produce the official music video for the song “Wait for Me.” In 2010, at the Hamptons International Film Festival, she won the Best Cinematography Award from Kodak for the film Without, directed by Mark Jackson. The film, which she also produced, premiered in New York City at the Museum of Modern Art and has garnered significant critical acclaim at festival screenings globally, including the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Locarno International Film Festival, the London Film Festival, and Deauville.
Most recently, Jessica worked as photographer and videographer for the HBO four-part documentary series The Weight of the Nation, which aired in the summer of 2012. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, Aperture, The New York Times Magazine, Photo Icon, Photo District News, Time, Fortune, and other publications.
She resides in New York City.
Exhibition sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, Roosevelt University, with generous financial support from Susan B. Rubnitz and additional support from Flax Art and Frame.
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