James Rodriguez, a Mexican – U.S. independent photo-documentarian has lived and worked in Mexico, the United States, Japan, Brazil and Guatemala. Based in Guatemala since 2004 he has been documenting several post-war processes in addition to current human rights and social justice struggles in the region.
The photos selected here provide only a small window into the complexity of his work and impact of the experiences on the lives which his photographs document.
In addition to the cover of this magazine, five photos are featured here. The first, above, was taken on the Day of the Dead in 2004 in Comalapa during an exhumation of dozens of mass graves found within an army garrison. Here, 179 bodies were recovered, most showing signs of torture.
The second photo shows members of HIJOS (Sons and Daughters for Identity and Justice Against Forgetfulness and Silence) clashing with the police during a March of Remembrance in 2007. The March brought together activists and families of victims of the civil war with the goal of halting a parade which commemorated the 136th annual Military Day.
The third photo attesting to Mr. Rodriguez’s artistry, sense of balance and the personal experience of daily life in Guatemala was taken at a market in Zona 3, Guatemala City in 2007.
The fourth photo, taken in El Salvador, reveals the challenges of city residents forced to live and work behind bars for fear of the rising crime and violence in their barrios.
The fifth is a stark representation of the grief and mourning still being experienced by Nicolas Chen, as he caresses a photograph of his daughter, Martha, one of the 400 victims of the Rio Negro massacres during the early 1980s. The massacres were sparked by the construction of a hydro-electrical plant. The caption beneath her photograph describes how soldiers performed a forced cesarean on her with a machete and asks how anyone could take a defenseless life so unjustly.
With these images, we are asked intimately, to wonder, too. These experiences must be documented, they must be witnessed, and Mr. Rodriguez provides us a portal. To view more of his work, please visit his website at www.mimundo.org.
[singlepic id=25 w=300 h=300 float=center]