... | Jessica Eve Rattner | ...

"If a photographer cares about the people before the lens and is compassionate, much is given. It is the photographer, not the camera, that is the instrument."
-Eve Arnold
After years spent in India and Western Massachusetts (and most recently, Guatemala), I now live in Berkeley, California with my husband and two daughters.
I have a Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work, and have worked as a writer and editor. I think it is the same curiosity about people and their environments that led me to Social Work that now drives my photography. I am always excited and honored when someone opens their life to me and my camera. To be a compassionate and caring witness is my goal.
is the ongoing portrait of Lee, a woman whose eccentricities conceal a beauty and intelligence that most people might not easily see. I met Lee in 2003 when I moved in around the corner from her. At first, like others, I knew her as a shopping-cart pushing raider of recycling bins, a tatterdemalion with a foot-tall dreadlock of grey hair. Rain poured through the roof of her dilapidated house, a possum moved in to share the cat food. Hoarding was her lifestyle, and the floors were piled high with rotting relics of decades of her life. Lee has no heat, no running water, and uses the bathroom at a nearby Safeway store. Neighbors complain that her house is an eyesore and should be condemned before it lowers their sky-high property values. A social worker by training, I am fascinated by the cultural constructs of mental health. 

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