Needle Park

A young woman tries to comfort her husband and his brother. All three heroin addicts. By now, crime is the only way to get the money to support their habit.

This incredibly vivid and moving photo essay was published in Life Magazine in 1965. The accompanying article, The World of Needle Park, was later adapted by Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne into the 1971 movie, The Panic in Needle Park- veiled versions of the lovers, Karen and Johnny, seen above, were played by Al Pacino and Kitty Winn. Though there had been movies about heroin addiction before, such as Sinatra’s The Man with the Golden Arm, this photo story was a shocking look at a world most Americans did not know existed. Bill Eppridge, better known for his images of Robert Kennedy, went on to do several other stories about the heroin problem in the United States that are equally revealing yet sensitive.