National Geographic photographers talking about the power of photography and why they devote themselves to it… pretty inspiring stuff!
"It makes me feel alive… for these brief little moments, I feel like maybe I understand something about the world"
As I see it, the world is made up entirely of photographic subject matter…. With pictures you can say what you can’t with words.
i will never stop worshiping stephen shore. ever.
Kids work in the garden at the Hope of Hope and Peace (Hogar de Esperanza y Paz) in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. The autonomous community center works to build strong communities where migration is an option, not an obligation, while providing a safe place for kids growing up in the industrialized border zone.
Migrant belongings in the desert, March 2013.
At first glance (top) we see a desert landscape - blue sky, a dried up wash. But look a little closer and you’ll see another part of the permanent landscape in the Southern Arizona borderlands. Migrant belongings, left behind on a journey North, cover the ground just outside Arivaca, Arizona. I first came to the border in late winter 2010, and unfortunately not much has changed since then. We still see migrants crossing through desert, and I still see electrolyte bottles, tuna cans, shoes, backpacks, and more, strewn across the desert. We still see migrants funneled into the harshest parts of the desert, under prepared and overwhelmed, searching for a better life. We still see people dying. In fact, we know that even though the number of crossings is down, the percentage of deaths is up.
On my last hike, I was struck by the contrast I saw in the desert. Wildflowers, a sign of hope and a glimpse of spring, popped up around piles of belongings, a reminder of the desperation of their owners.
We are in the middle of the most beautiful time of the year in Tucson. Spring is short, but fierce. Wildflowers are popping up through the cracks in the sidewalks, where their seeds have been patiently waiting. The desert creosote bushes are bursting with tiny yellow flowers, and the orange blossoms’ scent follows you in the breeze as you bike through town.
I started out 2013 in San Cristobal, Mexico. I spent 2 weeks in Chiapas, the southernmost state, learning about immigration through the area, globalization, indigenous community organizing, and of course, a little about the zapatistas.
This photo is of a student at Unitierra learning to make bread for Three Kings Day. Unitierra is a free university for indigenous youth, where students can spend nine months learning a huge variety of skills and concepts, ranging from shoe-making and baking, to spanish and music theory. Students learn “whatever they ask to learn” and take their knowledge back to their communities. Unitierra believes you need strong individuals in order to have strong communities.
Just over two months ago, a US Border Patrol agent in Nogales, Arizona, shot and killed a 16 year old Mexican citizen standing on a street corner in Nogales, Mexico. The Border Patrol alleges the teenager was throwing rocks at the agents, which is seen by the agency as deadly force. Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez was shot twice in the head, and four times in the chest. Activists and community members on both sides of the border are calling attention to the disproportionate use of lethal force, and demanding an objective investigation that holds responsible parties accountable and examines the unfettered growth of the agency.
The photos above were taken in Nogales, Sonora, in late November. Top to bottom, left to right: (1) The street corner where the shooting took place, visible on the right side of the photo is a Border Patrol surveillance tower, perched above the border wall, which is assumed to have recorded the entire incident. (2) Bullet holes, circled in red. (3) More bullet holes, and the street sign for “International Street”, which runs through downtown Nogales. (4) Jose Antonio’s Tomb, where he was laid to rest with a family member.
Early last winter, I traveled through the state of Chihuahua, Mexico, to the town of Creel. That’s where I met these boys, Tarahumara kids, selling candy and chips to tourists at a nearby waterfall. They rode on the roof of our van, ate lunch with us, and observed us curiously. They were likely too young to understand the severe threats to the existence of their people - climate change, deforestation, drug violence, mining activity, and tourism in the area are all devastatingly serious concerns.
The boys all spoke Tarahumara, not English or Spanish, and the one holding the coke bottle was deaf and mute. He had an extraordinary laugh, an expression that transcended language barriers and conveyed emotions far better than words.