Photograph from the Humanize the Numbers project, photographed in Michigan prisons

Cortez Davis-EL, 2016
Giving in to my environment and not living for myself.

Artist Statement
As a child growing up in a drug infested environment I lived in constant fear. Being hungry all the time with very few adults to turn to, I became what I hated. I stop looking in the mirror because I was afraid to face the boy looking back at me. I felt lost and hopeless. I never thought that I would live past 14, but I did.

People began telling me at an early age that I was never going to be anything. Since it was coming from adults that claim to love me, I believed them I really gave up on myself, by giving in to the negative thinking of other lost people.

After I was convicted, my sentencing judge, the Honorable Vera Massey Jones, let me know that she saw redemption in me and that was the first time something positive was directed toward me and I made it my mission to discover what she saw in me for myself.

I see myself as the lost and found. As a child I embarked on the wrong path and lost sight of who I was. As an adult I found the right path and found myself. I see myself as the face of what a positive transformation is.