Photojournalist Wil Sands takes photographs of crime scenes–but not in the way that you’re used to.
Sands, who says that he believes photography’s role is to “speak truth(s) to power,” traveled to Baltimore after hearing about Freddie Gray’s death in police custody last year. At that time, the whole world was paying attention to the role that crime played in the city–but Sands decided to take a different tack. Instead of focusing on dramatic shots of the city erupting in riots, he instead started following the stories of the more typical, but less well-known crimes that plague the city: the epidemic of murders of young, black men.
For his project BodyMore, Murderland, Sands took photographs of street corners in the city where a person had been murdered. They look like ordinary slices of the city–a backyard with a chainlink fence; a brick house with a stoop out front–but the captions reveal the underlying tragedy, listing the name of the person killed, their age and race, and how they died.
The Huffington Post investigated some of the deaths that Sands featured, asking neighbors, relatives, and friends to describe the people they lost, ensuring that they’re much more than just a data point in a list of crime statistics. The overwhelming sense is one of emptiness–in more ways than one.