Location: Ellensburg, WA, United States
Thousands of men, women, and children have died crossing the border between Mexico and the United States. Many of these victims are found in the harsh Sonoran Desert of Arizona long after they passed. Their remains are unidentifiable, and they have become anonymous causalities to American Empire. The United States government strategically uses this unforgiving terrain to force migrants into an unfamiliar land where they wander for days in the elements through policies of “prevention through deterrence.” Nature is used here as an executioner by proxy.
I photograph the exact locations where the bodies of unknown migrants are found. These people could not be identified and remain anonymous to this day. How do we mourn for those we do not know? These landscape photographs act as a space for somber remembrance and an examination of the cruelty of white supremacy woven into the fabric of the United States. Our colonialist history and imperialist ambitions permeate this land in every mountain and valley. The sites of death are representative of the horrors attached to these oppressive ideologies that continue to guide the US forward into the 21st century.
I use alternative photographic processes in the darkroom to speak to the complex social and political narratives that run through these landscapes. The hazy, impressionistic, and forceful mark-making embedded in these photographic processes act as a metaphor for the physical and psychological violence that these migrants experienced as they perished.
Immigration is a focal point of political discourse in the US, yet most citizens are unaware of this brutality in the borderlands. Thousands have died and still thousands more remain unaccounted for as they have been lost to these killing fields of the Southwest. As a citizen of this country, I bear responsibility for crimes against humanity perpetrated by my government. These photographs are my call for action. Only by acknowledging atrocities can we hope to end them.