Border River - Ciudad Juárez
Wake - Ciudad Juárez
Funeral Procession - Ciudad Juárez
Waiting - Ciudad Juárez
Car Bomb - Ciudad Juárez
Final Farewell - Ciudad Juárez
Lucha Libre - Ciudad Juárez
Halloween - Ciudad Juárez
Willie - Ciudad Juarez
Barrio at Dusk - Ciudad Juárez
So Close, So Far: Daily Life and Cartel Violence in Ciudad Juárez
Averaging over 3,000 murders a year, Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, has become one of the most dangerous cities on earth, a place many call “Murder City.” Located on the US-Mexico border, just across from El Paso, TX, Ciudad Juárez is the epicenter of a struggle between drug cartels that has pushed all of Mexico toward lawlessness. The city has become a bed of tension, its citizens weary and nervous of the gunfire that may erupt at any moment. Yet daily life in Ciudad Juárez maintains a paradoxical serenity, at once contradictory to and somehow acquiescent in the crisis that is overwhelming the city.
As a photographer I am interested in the often-fragile relationship between people and the places they live, in how individuals, environment, and history combine to create a region with its own culture. In my project “So Close, So Far: Daily Life and Cartel Violence in Ciudad Juárez,” I am exploring these ideas through images of daily life in a place where the drug war calls the very concept of "daily life" into question. Combining environmental portraits and documentary reportage, I hope to document this tragic and historic time in the life of this city, when cartel violence forges an uncertain new reality.
Porfirio Díaz, a former president of Mexico, is famously quoted as saying, “Poor Mexico, so far from God, so close to the United States.” This proximity has had a profound influence on the history of Ciudad Juárez. Renowned in the past for bandits, smugglers, and revolutionaries, it is now the stage upon which drug cartels are enacting a bloody struggle for control of the lucrative drug routes leading north into the US. With over 30,000 cartel related deaths in all of Mexico since 2006, the country has an uncertain future. In Ciudad Juárez the government has been reduced to picking up bodies and tallying the dead, impunity has spread, life has become cheap, and murder is easy. Yet somehow life goes on.