Para los en Monterrey… voy a impartir el siguiente taller de Fotografía Documental en el Museo Marco (véase el último taller en su pagina – del enlace abajo – para mas información).
FOTOGRAFÍA DOCUMENTAL: UNA MIRADA A TI MISMO
7 sesiones | Del 16 de junio al 28 de julio, 2013
Domingos | 10:00 am a 1:30 pm
Costo: $2,000 pesos
Happy to have Bien Fuerte nominated as a UK winner in the Magenta Awards:
Didn’t win it, but nice to have ‘Bien Fuerte’ shortlisted for the Lucie Foundation Emerging Scholarship 2013:
Still feeling reflective. These photos were taken in 2008. Yaya is from Chad, and he came to the United Kingdom to seek humanitarian protection. After having to wait for a number of years, Tony Blair’s New Labour government finally gave him and his family leave to remain. Yaya liked to play the national lottery. Every week he wrote all the possible numbers out, crumpled them up, and allowed his son to pick out six at a time. One line of six lucky numbers would mean millions of pounds. Each line costs £1, and Yaya always had a strict budget for a certain amount of lines. That particular week his son picked one extra, but Yaya kept to his budget and didn’t place that line. When it came to the official draw, five of the numbers from the extra line were chosen, this would have meant hundreds of thousands of pounds for Yaya… he said he would never play the lottery again.
Feeling a bit reflective… These photos were taken in 2005. The lady’s name is Rose, a Ugandan, who had come to the United Kingdom to seek humanitarian protection. Tony Blair’s New Labour government decided she was lying, and after allowing her to become homeless they deported her. I lost contact, however, the last I heard Rose had died at the Ugandan border while trying to cross into Kenya.
I’m feeling reflective, but I’m also starting to consider if there are any links in the economic processes that led to the upsurge in political / economical refugees to Europe, and the ugly violence witnessed in Mexico, and other parts of Latin America. Is the economic backdrop to these issues related?
Another friend died. I have no friends who’ve died from illnesses or even car crashes, but I have a growing number who have died in other, very preventable, ways. It leaves a lot of questions. Is this normal? Why always male? What are the causes of this destructiveness? What changes would really make the difference? And so on…
Since leaving Mexico I’ve stayed in contact with the young men in my photographs mainly through Facebook. “Las mismas mamadas”, basically translates as “the same old shit”, and in this context it’s just the same old shit, as shown in the photographs, just keeps on happening. Thankfully somebody I knew very well during the project took the decision to go into a drug rehab, trying to take a much more positive step forward. Here are some extracts from Facebook conversations I’ve had in the last month:
“mas feo q antes vato mataron a dos señoras de por donde vivo y a un niño de 13 años we pss ya saves las mismas mamadas we”
“it’s worse than before, they killed two ladies close to where I live and a 13 year old boy, you already know it’s always the same old shit”
“ya se interno we” “Como ya se interno?” “yA se metio a un centro de drogadictos” “se va a aventar 3 meses”
“he’s been interned” “What do mean he’s been interned?” “he’s gone into a drugs rehabilitation clinic” “he has 3 more months”
“aier se iso un desmadrewe” “nos peliamos vien machin con los mp” “a mi me avrieron en el cueyo we”
“yesterday there was mayhem” “we had a massive fight with the MP” “they opened my neck”
Well here it is, 8 months of work in 40 photos and a 300 word intro, it just seems incredible… if there’s anyone out there, your constructive thoughts are very welcome! :::
Me Estoy Asiendo el Bien Fuerte started in the context of the Mexican drug violence, which in 2011 reached unprecedented levels in the wealthy north-eastern city of Monterrey. However, my aim was never to concentrate on the violence directly. I felt there were already too many images of bloodied bodies, which seemed to endlessly represent only nameless corpses with no identity. Instead the work is an attempt to reflect on the social and economic circumstances that many of the victims and perpetrators of the violence come from: 90% of those dead were male, 40% were aged between 15-29, and almost all were working class. Mexico is registered as having a large youth population, as well as a high level of social inequality. A significant number of young people struggle with the destructive nature of poverty, while living beside others with incredible wealth and opportunities.
The title of the project translates as ‘I’m being so strong’, and the words were taken from a letter written by Samuel to his innocent brother, after he was murdered by one of Monterrey’s warring cartels. The phrase seemed so fitting for these young men, who as well as their economic difficulties, are growing up with the pressures of a strong patriarchal society, where gang membership is the norm, where shows of masculinity often lead to forms of violence, and where their model of manhood is in danger of becoming so destructive. These photos are an introduction to this reality, a reality where many young men are so vulnerable to the social and financial weight of the criminal groups. Over the first 6 months of 2012 individuals from two street gangs, Los Pokos Lokos and Los Químikos, slowly introduced me to their lives, allowed me to photograph their world, and shared their experiences of becoming adults during these years of high insecurity in the working class neighbourhoods of Monterrey.