David Rochkind Documents The War Against The Mexican Drug Cartels

mexican drug cartels

mexican drug cartels

mexican drug cartels

Rochkind_HHSS_003

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)

Scott Dalton Photographs Of Mexican Faith Healers

Scott Dalton

faith healers

Scott Dalton

Scott Dalton, an award-winning photographer and filmmaker based in Houston, Texas documents the pilgrimage devoted to Mexican faith healer, Niño Fidencio, in Espinazo, Mexico.

Through the years in Mexican cultural history, Curanderos (Faith Healers) have served an important role in peoples’ medical and spiritual lives. In fact, many of these healers become celebrities, as their miraculous healing creates huge followings. In the early 20th century, El Niño Fidencio became one of the country’s most celebrated healers; today he is regarded as a folk saint by thousands of his devotees, or, as they call them, fidencistas.

In 2009, Dalton traveled to Espinazo to document the festivities devoted to El Niño Fidencio.

“What interested me in the project was just the idea of faith, and how it takes a variety of forms in peoples’ lives. This project just looks at one part of that, but I think it serves a reminder of how important faith is for so many people throughout the world, and how we all come to terms with our own belief system within the context of our own society and environment.”

Fidencistas believe that modern-day curanderos can channel the spirit of Fidencio; these photographs show many of the rituals provided by these modern day healers. To us this looks unusual, cinematic and surreal, but to them these ritualistic activities only mean their salvation. Dalton said he witnessed transformations, in which the eyes of curanderos would roll back and they’d assume a high-pitched voice- taking Fidencio’s spirit in order to heal. (via Slate)

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Curiot (Favio Martinez) At FFDG

birth_of_the_omuktlans 63_8163345900f75238b748bchant_for_pleasureThe work of Mexican artist Curiot is still on display at FFDG in San Francisco. If you find yourself around those parts and have not yet seen the exhibition, then fear not- you still have three days to roll through. Age of Omuktlans closes this Saturday. I would get there before then if I were you. Curiot’s technique is looking pretty solid with this new batch of paintings that allude to Mexican traditions (geometric designs, Day of the Dead styles, myths and legends, and tribal tinges). His characters seem to exist outside of time, and possess so much magnetism that the artist’s compositions maintain a certain vibrancy even in the absence of any background elements. Spring is here, and these works express a lot of the churning, dynamic forces coming into play outdoors right now. Rain or shine, Curiot seems to have a handle on the natural dynamics constantly at play around us. And if you can’t make it to the SF institution’s IRL location, click past the jump to see more images from the show.

The Strange Beauty Of Mexico City As Captured By Mark Powell’s Photographs

Mark Powell is a Mexico City based photographer who has done an amazing job documenting his city. As someone who has lived in the city, I can attest that Powell’s images do the difficult work of capturing the gorgeous strangeness that is DF (Distrito Federal). It’s a city that’s at once ancient and modern, chaotic and simple, deeply catholic and extremely progressive, the largest metropolis in the Americas yet seemingly invisible. Mexico City is hyperbole and juxtaposition and has seemed previously impossible to document in a sufficient way until Mark Powell’s photographs gave it some of the justice it so deserves. My advice: Paw through Powell’s portfolio, vote, and if the elections don’t turn out as you might want them to, jump the border for the next few years and get to know the urban wilderness of Mark Powell’s Mexico City. (via)

Our Exquisite Corpse’s Huichol Bead Skulls

One of my favorite tendencies in Mexican cultures is their positive relationship with death, and the above skulls are some beautiful evidence of it. Our Exquisite Corpse partnered with artists from the Huichol community of the Sierra Madres in West Mexico to create a series of stunning beaded skulls. Bead art goes back centuries on centuries on centuries in Huichol culture, from enormous tableaus to, more recently, tiny tourist coasters and covering every object on the way . The skulls are a combination of Huichol artists and OEC designers, painstakingly hand-beaded, and for sale on their website. ( via )

Curiot’s Mexican Murals

 

Curiot is a Mexico City based artist who combines indigenous and street art to make some incredible, mythical murals. I would recommend making the trip south to see some his murals in person; it’s 100% worth it. If you get there and can’t find any, you might be able to pick up some of his sculptures at La Vamp skateboard shop in La Roma.

Ivan C.

cgMeet Ivan C. – a visual artist from Mexico. Although he works commercially, his work is conceptul, believing art should now be “Cosa Virtuale,” with technology not leading the ideas, but setting free all the visual possibilities for the interpretation of reality. Ivan releases his imagery through multiple mixed-media processes involving digital photography, digital collage and experimental graphic manipulations.

Dr. Lakra

DL_PorPayasa Dr. Lakra is a Mexico-based  world renowned tattoo artist whose work has been seen on vintage printed materials and found objects rather than skin, manipulating images of pin-up girls, 1940s Mexican businessmen, luchadores, and Japanese sumo wrestlers.