When photographer Lincoln Clarkes began taking portraits of heroin-addicted women in a Vancouver drug ghetto, he realized many risked an untimely end. He did not know he was recording the last days of the victims of Canada's worst serial murders. \nFive of the women he hoped to have helped with his poignant portraits of femininity amid squalor are among scores still missing. \nHe expects many more to be named as police examine DNA evidence. \n"I just don't want to think about the final number," he said. \nPig farmer Robert "Willie" Pickton, 53, has pleaded not guilty to 15 murders, but is suspected in up to 65 cases of women who vanished from Vancouver's downtown eastside, known as Low Track. It is one of North America's worst areas for poverty, drugs, prostitution, Aids and crime. \nPickton was arrested last year and his committal hearing resumes on June 30 after a recess, while police continue excavating the grounds of his 4,5-hectare farm. He allegedly lured the women to the farm, 35km east of Vancouver's shiny skyscrapers and its seedy 10-block Low Track neighborhood. He is alleged to have entertained them in a building he called Piggy's Palace and then killed them. \nReports persist that he ground up the bodies and fed the remains to his pigs. \nClarkes, 45, once a fashion photographer in London and Paris, lives three blocks from Low Track. One summer day in 1997 he caught sight of Patricia Johnson, then a 20-year-old mother of two children she had abandoned, and a heroin addict and prostitute. They talked and Clarkes took her picture with two female friends. \nWhen he saw the prints, he wept. He was to spend Sunday afternoons for the next five years photographing what, in a new book of the portraits of beauty in a beastly place, he called Heroines. \nIn 1997, a Low Track prostitute told police she had been handcuffed and stabbed by Pickton, but he claimed self-defense and was never charged. \nA year later, police heard that bloody clothing, identity cards and handbags were seen at the farm. But officers were unconcerned by vanishing addicts -- even while the numbers increased each month. \nClarkes first heard of a missing woman in 1998, when he showed to her best friend a portrait of Sheila Egan, 19, who had disappeared a fortnight earlier. \n"She grabbed it and clasped it to herself, and burst into tears," he recalled. "She said she knew Sheila was dead because she hadn't called. That's when I realized something was happening, but I didn't know what." \nEgan never reached her twentieth birthday. With Johnson, she is among the 15 named in the murder charges. \nJohnson became Clarkes' friend and left him a phone message days before vanishing in 2001. Although addicted to heroin, Egan seemed to Clarkes "so fresh and young, she should have still been in school. But she was also a bit of a fashion plate and a party girl who didn't know when to stop partying, I guess." \nAnother Clarkes heroine was Julie Young, 31, last seen in October 1998. She was "heroin sick" when Clarkes first saw her. "She was hurting badly for a fix, but she still managed to pose." The women loved the portraits because, he said, "here was someone with a genuine interest in them, not for sex or drugs, but for art and photography."
A CAUTIONARY TALE: Bookseller Lam Wing-kee speaks of the danger that his adopted home Taiwan now faces and the ordeal of his detention in China Lam Wing-kee (林榮基) leaned forward in his chair, answering quickly and sharply to issue a warning to the people of his new home, Taiwan. “Be ready now,” Lam said. “We should be more alert as citizens, we should get ready,” the 64-year-old Hong Konger said. “If they can take Hong Kong back, the next place, I feel, is Taiwan.” Late in Taipei at Causeway Bay Books Mark II, on the 10th floor of a nondescript building, Lam, a wiry, gray-haired bookseller, was sitting at his desk with a bemused gaze behind thin oval glasses. The desk was neat, but crowded with books and a
The genteel world of New Zealand pottery has been rocked by a row over plans for a ceramic dildo-making workshop, sparking allegations of bullying and online abuse. Ceramicist Nicole Gaston said that she wanted the Wellington Potters’ Association to hold the event with Iza Lozano, a visiting Mexican artist who has conducted similar workshops in her homeland. Gaston said that pottery dildos are easily sterilized, can be warmed and, unlike latex versions, do not pose the risk of leeching chemicals into the body. “Some of the oldest ceramic works ever found are of phalluses,” she said. “This isn’t exactly brand new. People have
‘POLICE EVERYWHERE’: A law that would criminalize the publication of images of police officers was passed by the National Assembly and awaits Senate approval Violent clashes erupted in Paris on Saturday as tens of thousands took to the streets to protest against new security legislation, with tensions intensified by the police beating and racial abuse of a black man that shocked France. Several fires were started in Paris, sending acrid smoke into the air, as protesters vented their anger against the security law, which would restrict the publication of police officers’ faces. About 46,000 people marched in Paris and 133,000 in total nationwide, the French Ministry of the Interior said. Protest organizers said about 500,000 joined nationwide, including 200,000 in the capital. French President Emmanuel Macron late
ILL-EQUIPPED: Pamekasan — a modest district by the Java Sea, where Sardjono Utomo worked for years as a hospital director — did not even have one ventilator Sardjono Utomo, a senior Indonesian physician, late on Tuesday afternoon admitted himself to his local hospital in East Java. In just over 24 hours, as his fellow doctors phoned hospital after hospital in search of a ventilator in Surabaya — Indonesia’s second-largest city and a few hours’ drive away — the doctor and his wife, Sri Martini, would both be dead. The death of Sardjono and his wife from COVID-19 has raised alarm bells in the world’s fourth-most populated nation, where the pandemic has steadily gone from bad to worse and is putting a significant strain on the country’s poorly equipped healthcare