Good storytelling strengthens social movements
About the Photograph:
“I shot this image at the funeral of 15-year-old Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca, who was killed on June 7th by a Border Patrol agent in Ciudad Juarez on June 10, 2010. According to eyewitnesses the shooting occurred after Guereca helped guide several other teenagers into the United States when they were spotted and retreated back to Mexico. One of their group was detained by the U.S. Border Patrol and at least one of the boys threw a rock from the Mexican border into the United States toward the Border Patrol agent upon which he returned fire at the group, firing several rounds, and hitting Guereca in the head. The killing sparked much controversy over the use of force across international borders and sat uneasy in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico where over 1,000 killings have happened as a result of the insecurity caused by the war on drugs. There are still many questions unanswered about what exactly happened on June 7th near the international bridge as there are conflicting reports from the agent and eye witnesses.”
The Activestills collective was established in 2005 by a group of Israeli and international documentary photo-graphers, out of a strong conviction that photography is a vehicle for social change. We believe in the power of images to shape public attitudes and to raise awareness on issues that are generally absent from public discourse. We view ourselves as part of the struggle against all forms of oppression, racism, and violations of the basic right to freedom.
Photographer Daniel Rosenthal explains his photo:
“This is a photograph I shot last year during an assignment for GEO Magazine on demographic changes in Europe due to migrant workers. Poland was the first part of the story. I arrived in the tiny Polish village of Plaszkowa on Easter Monday (the most important Polish feast day) during heavy snowfall to meet Marian Tarasek for the first time (49 years, on the right). It was the day before he had to travel back to Ireland where he found a job as a construction worker, one of the many thousand Polish migrant workers there. Marian was very shy and thoughtful and it was obvious that having to leave his loved ones for another month made him sad. We sat down in silence underneath the religious icons on the wall. Suddenly his sons Damian and Mateusz came along and Marians wife served the traditional Polish beetroot soup, that’s when everything fell into place and the situation transformed into a biblical scene, embodying believe, humility and tradition mixed with everyday life.“
Penny de los Santos, a documentary photographer based in Texas, was awarded The National Geographic Photography Grant to continue her documentary work on the Texas/Mexican border and Tejano culture.
She explains: “This region of Texas is a place where cultures clash and are constantly being redefined. I spent a total of four years developing the body of work, to this day I am still documenting the culture and the geography. This photograph was taken in the Texas/Mexico border town of Laredo. The young woman is being fitted for a dress by the designer, at right, her mother and designers assistants. She is being introduced into “high society” at a ball and pageant that happens annually by the Society Of Martha Washington. This induction into “high society” is based on family heritage and class and has been passed down from generation to generation since the 1950’s.”
The series Third Space (2004-2005) by Whitney Stolich numbers sixteen works, one for each pair of “twin” cities divided by the United States - Mexico borders. Each work is a pair of photographs joining two cities, not only because their images are side by side, but also because often there is an element, morphological or conceptual, extending from one to the next: be it residences with similar architectural or decorative characteristics, or twin factories of american interests advocating the utilization of cheap labor and the existing infrastructure, the works demonstrate the pressure exerted on the border by the mutual need for penetration.
Stolich examines the creation of an informal zone where the parallel development and mutual dependence of two communities lead to cultural convergence or fusion, prevailing over the tension of the immigration limit on one of the most closely guarded borders of the planet. In this context, she locates the existence of a “third space” where the emerging economic, social and cultural effects negotiate concepts such as co-operation and internationalism, transcending the partition imposed by the political border. The final photograph in the series depicts the sky above the borderline where, inevitably, all exclusions become invisible.
Selected tag: Photography
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Régine Debatty writes about the intersection between art, design and technology on her blog we-make-money-not-art.com.
She also contributes to various design and art magazines, curates art shows and lectures internationally.