Heaven’s Gain

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Magnum Foundation Presents

Heaven’s Gain

Featuring Justin Maxon
Exhibition Design by Kiersten Nash, By Design



July 5th, 2013 “Hey Bro, well its 7 months today since you was taken away from us . . . I know you don’t want to see us down & heart broken. It is going to get harder b4 it get easy but we trying.”
Since the murder of her twin brother on December 5th of 2012, Elena Jo McElwee, writes to him on the 5th day of every month. She fills the blank space on her bedroom walls with notes to her brother. She must maintain this connection with him. She must never forget.
In Chester, Pennsylvania families are seeking justice and yearning for ways to heal. With one of the highest homicide rates in the country, the city has sustained unresolved loss of hundreds of lives over the last twenty years. Oppressive social structures and negligent law enforcement have lead to prolonged, collective trauma. Family photos are tucked in albums and other keepsakes stowed away in drawers. By opening drawers and revisiting albums, this work aims to restore fragile memories and forge pathways to justice, healing, and restitution for the families of Chester.


Related Programming:

Panel: Documenting Communities Impacted by Gun Violence


Justin Maxon’s desire is to reveal different variables of truth in humanity’s conflicted existence. He was born in 1983 in a small town in the woods of northern California and studied Journalism at San Francisco State. Maxon has received numerous accolades for his photography; he was selected to participate in World Press Photo’s 2010 Joop Swart Masterclass, he received the Magnum Foundation’s Emergency Fund Grant and the 2012 Alexia Foundation Professional Grant for World Peace. He has worked on feature stories for publications such as TIME, Rolling Stone, Newsweek, Mother Jones, Fader, The New York Times, and NPR.

The Magnum Foundation champions in-depth, independent documentary photography that fosters empathy, engagement, and positive social change. We support, train, and mentor the next generation of photographers and seek to increase the exposure of both historical and contemporary documentary photography in the digital age. An independent public charity, the Magnum Foundation carries forward the core values of Magnum photographers and sustains the practice of high-quality, long-form documentary photography.

Magnum Foundation is grateful to Gotham Imaging and LeNoble Lumber for its generous sponsorship of this installation.

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