David Rochkind Documents The War Against The Mexican Drug Cartels

mexican drug cartels

mexican drug cartels

mexican drug cartels

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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)

Animalistic Paintings with Eastern Aesthetics from Brooklyn Artist Mu Pan

SVA grad Mu Pan brings East Asian woodblock aesthetics to his colorful, animated paintings. Not much of a “Zen” vibe is to be found here, though. Full of life, the Brooklyn artist’s work explodes off the canvas in a rush of sex and violence. Base, animalistic sensibilities are collected and processed en masse within each piece, and hardly any opportunity for impact is passed over. Really engrossing stuff, whether the focus is placed on a few central figures, or all-encompassing atmosphere.

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Melissa Cooke

Never were there lovelier tortured souls. Wisconsin-born and University of Wisconsin at Madison-trained artist Melissa Cooke works primarily in powdered graphite and often casts herself as the subject of her drawn musings. Striking in both subject matter and detail, her creations explore themes of violence, sexuality, and identity. The nuances of story and emotion evoked are powerful, often unsettling. All of this is made by the artist’s skillful hand, guiding her dry brush across thin layers of graphite on sizeable pieces of paper.

Max Maslansky

max maslansky  sleeper
Max Maslansky is a tricky fellow who seems to believe in longshots. His images caress a romantic past, the voyeuristic present, and a violent future. Each image seems to shake with exerted candor, while holding your hand and telling you things will be okay.