El Cero

short stories

Monthly Archives: May 2012

Fight, fight, fight!

“Tom, now they’re going to be fighting everyday, you just be prepared, fighting everyday.”


Street Theatre

It had been a while. But you’re waiting for the metro when you here: duh, duh duh, duh duh duh duh, duh duh…

“What’s that? Is that gunfire?”

If it wasn’t for the reaction of the other people I wouldn’t have noticed it.

People are leaning over the barriers watching the street, but there’s nothing to see. You drop one level in the station, more people watching, but only cars in the street. You exit the station and there’s a policeman on the pavement with his pistol out.

Your eyes focus on the pistol. He’s ready to use it. Black and heavy, but worn on the edges.

He doesn’t know what to do. He runs up the street then back again, up the street then back again. Pedestrians are running around, people look scared. You look up the street, there’s nothing to see.

More policemen, more pistols. A man is saying: “over there, over there.” Everybody’s moving to the next corner. The policemen are running. You move, you look. Masked men with rifles block the street, police wagons and yellow tape.

You look along the alley, only policemen, you look along the pavement, only police, you look up the opposite pavement: three bodies, bloodied bodies slouched in the street. Maybe there are more, but you can’t see.

Three dead people, three corpses. An officer on his mountain bike says, “nothing to see”, “move on please, move on”. People look tense, scared, excited, concerned.

Plain clothed officers with machine guns running along the street. “Who are these men?” you ask. They could be sicarios, and those guns are so powerful.

More police, more police, more guns, more guns. A gun ready to use could go anywhere, you’re powerless in front of a gun ready to use.


Jako invited me for dinner.

Last night…

I think I could finish this project with a lot of photos like these ones, I think these photos, or photos of this type need to be part of the final selection, but it can’t be all photos like this. These guys can be crazy, but like I’ve said, they’ve got their softer side, and I need to show both of these sides if I’m going to do these people any justice.

What sort of world is your son, brother, friend, boyfriend living in? Is it healthy, is it a good place to be?

Last night I was invited into the house of a friend for tacos, not somebody that belongs to La Banda, alguien que era un chavo antes, y ahora es un pintor. They don’t have much money, but he bought me supper, with a beer etc. People always treat me well.

Dante is a much friendlier person than this photo suggests – time to try again…

In Mexico watching (over?) us, everywhere we go, and in everything we do.

More Meat

Meat and men.


“Mira Tom, this was written by a lad called ‘Mario Lokillo’, it’s his name, he used to hang around with us. About one year ago he had problems with another boy from here, one day he had just bought some food and was standing outside the shop. This boy came up behind him and got him in a tight headlock, but his mouth and throat were full of food and he couldn’t breath, by the time the boy let him go he was dead. He was 15.”

The battle over drugs.

I remember a British indie singer saying something like; nobody using drugs is really happy. I think it always dangerous to make sweeping general statements, as it’s always difficult to speak for everyone, all at once. I know from my own experience that I’m happier, more confident, calmer without drugs, than with them. Not that life is all roses, that’s not life, but it’s about coping with reality in a much surer and positive manner, rather than hiding in a box. I remember thinking of excessive drug and alcohol abuse as almost a form of self harm. We know it’s damaging but we do it anyway. Again I don’t know how generally true that is, but it certainly feels like a way out at times. The more you abuse, the more desperate you are to stay away from reality, whatever that reality may be.

Anyway, it’s difficult photographing drug use as it feels like such a cliche subject. While at the same time it seems very important to reflect it somehow as I think it signifies a lot in the people who are doing it. It’s just finding the most effective way of doing this. I find the expression in Kaly’s face above uncomfortable and a little disturbing, but at the same time I feel guilty for reflecting this in Kaly. Kaly’s disabled and his body language is sometimes different from a person without this disability, and so I’m not sure exactly what I’m saying – if you understand. It also feels a little like Don McCullin’s photos of homeless people in the 70’s. Anyway again, these are just thoughts, and I’ll keep on trying to find a way to photograph this subject that I find the most telling myself.

Arte’s new house.

It’s the first real portrait I’ve taken in all this time, and it’s also the first real time I’ve taken a photo inside the house of somebody, imagine that. It’s a great shame the box is sticking out of his head, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

Arte’s just moved out of his parent’s place.

Tirando Hueva

“What happened to your job?”

“No I left Tom.”

“What happened?”

“10 hours a day Tom, I didn’t want to do it any more.”

“How much were they paying?”

“700 pesos ($53) a week Tom.”

$53 or £33 a week for 60 hours’ work in a plastic bag factory.

How many photos have you see like the one on the right? It’s not very original, I think I need to find a different way…