“About five years ago, I dropped my son off at his little league team practice in a park just a few miles from our home. After running some errands, I went home and was surprised to see my son sitting in the living room. I then listened to a frantic voicemail left by his baseball coach. The team heard gun shots coming from the other end of the park. The coaches quickly packed the kids into their cars and drove them home.
I thought about that incident often and marveled at how fortunate our families were that none of those bullets came close to our kids and their coaches. I also become much more aware of the fact that gun violence has forced its way into our communities.
A year after this incident, I decided to photograph places where people were killed by guns. To better understand the shootings, I researched stories about the victims and the neighborhoods where they died. I then went with my camera and tripod to the blocks where the shootings took place. I spent time exploring the locations and the memorials to the victims.
While walking through the neighborhoods, I met people who lived with gun violence. I spoke to a young woman who happened to be strolling with her friend through a park, when he was struck and killed by a bullet. I met a grandmother who wondered why no one identified the person who killed her fourteen year old grandson. I spoke to a gentleman who after walking with me through a park to show me where a young man had been murdered, pointed to one of the neat, tidy homes, that lined the park. He told me about the day he saw two kids, no older than nine or ten, shooting at one another. He explained that the bullets were ricocheting off a ninety year old woman’s home. When one of the kids ran out of bullets, he dropped his gun and then he laid down on the ground. The other child simply walked away.
Some of these pictures were taken days or weeks after an individual’s death. Others were made months or years later. I am not documenting the crime scenes. Instead, I use the concept of a landscape to isolate small, seemingly insignificant details. What appears to be banal, becomes an important artifact and witness to the violence. Through these small observations, I hope to create a visual poem that honors the lives lost through gun violence.”
— Peggy Casey, 2016
Peggy Casey has been showing her photography since the late eighties. She has had solo exhibitions at Devening Projects + Exhibitions and Artemisia Gallery in Chicago and participated in group exhibitions at the Cultural Center, Hyde Park Art Center and the Evanston Art Center in the Chicago area. She has also participated in many group exhibitions throughout the United States. Casey received a BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1984.