© Annie Flanagan from "Hey, Best Friend!", 2014

Annie Flanagan: Hey, Best Friend!

Annie Flanagan (USA): Hey, Best Friend!

Gallery offline – updating soon

On September 20, 2012 I met Nekqua; that night Brittney’s father was killed in a work related accident. The next day, when I met up with Nekqua outside of the South West Community center in Syracuse, she had finished all of her homework and was leaning against a fence wearing a near see-through, white, button up t-shirt, that was revealing her leopard print bra that matched her headband. In her left hand was a banana, in her right a brown paper bag. “What’s for lunch?” I asked. “Condoms” she replied, “I can’t be a godmother again, so, I have to drop off condoms at my best friend’s house.”

Nekqua (16) and Brittney (17) are best friends. They live blocks away from each other in the South Side of Syracuse. As they navigate through high school, they confront difficult obstacles – graduating, sexual abuse, passing math, death, motherhood and being LGBTQ. Their friendship is indicative of the varying difficulties that youth face and in their support for one another, their resistance and determination reveals that their strength is nothing short of extraordinary.

I have continued to photograph Nekqua and Brittney over the past two years. I have watched their lives change and evolve. Nekqua is graduating at the end of June 2014 and Brittney moved up north, left school and is raising her child with the help of her family.