David Rochkind’s Heavy Hand, Sunken Spirit is a project about Mexico’s new normalcy: day-to-day violence and corruption due to Mexico’s violent drug war since the rise of former Mexican President Felipe Calderon.
Since his time in office, the battle against the country’s drug cartels has become a priority, and in consequence more than 50,000 people have been killed and kidnapped
The cartels in Mexico are ruthless, meting out an awesome brutality where heads are rolled into crowded discos and dismembered bodies are abandoned on busy streets.
Rochkind images intend to “frame the violence as a symptom”, as opposed to the problem. He is interested in documenting Mexico’s present situations in an unfiltered manner; he says, “when documenting this conflict it is important not to reduce what is happening to a series of nearly anonymous images of carnage that could be happening anywhere.” His honest imagery is not just about violence, though. In nutshell, these photographs tell a story, a present of people whom find themselves in these horrid yet mundane situations. The photograph’s rawness intend to offer a snapshot of history, essentially a set of documents that can be referred to later on, in order to answer questions and redefine Mexican culture in the future.
I chose to work on this project because it represents how a grand, intense struggle can be transformed into quiet, daily dramas that are woven seamlessly into the lives of those involved. I am drawn to extreme crises that become internalized, even routine, to the communities that they touch.
This work was published as a monograph by Dewi Lewis Publishing in December 2012 and was honored by PDN, photo-eye and Professional Photographer Magazine, as book of the year. The project has also been exhibited internationally, including at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Southeast Museum of Photography, the Blue Sky Gallery and others. (via feature shoot)