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The Unseen Life Around The USA-Mexico Border

A Famous But Lesser Known Border

A boundary is an imaginary or physical line that separates two spaces, but it's also a space on its own, with its own characteristics. Life on the border between Mexico and the United States is special. People who live near the great walls that separate the two countries do not live in one or the other but "at the border". There is a special atmosphere and dynamic that we only feel at this that spot. For ten days, three AFP photographers traveled hundreds of kilometers along the border in order to take snapshots that give a better overview of life as it really takes place there.

Currently, the 44 photographs are exhibited on the bridge of Paso del Norte in Ciudad Juarez, which connects Mexico to the United States. A dozen of them are displayed in large on the walls of the border. At the origin of this project, three photographers, the American Jim Watson, who took care of snapshots in Texas and California; Mexican, Guillermo Arias, AFP correspondent and Salvadoran Yuri Cortez, head of photography at the AFP office in Mexico, took pictures of the Mexican side of the border. The idea came after the election of Donald Trump and his expressed willingness to have the Mexicans pay for the construction of a new impenetrable wall.

Photo Credit: Guillermo Arias

Two countries, Two Different Points of View 

The goal was to paint a picture of those living near the border and to show the daily life of this area that everyone is talking about. South of the border, "we can see the campfires where the migrants spent the night, the clothes and the shoes. Also, a lot of crosses and altars that show that someone lost their life trying to cross, "said Yuri Cortez.

According to the Mayor of Ciudad Juarez, the photographs show us that there is a "cohabitation between those who live in a region like this, there are entire families living on one side and the other".

Photo Credit: Guillermo Arias

On the American side, Jim Watson talks about Mexicans crossing to find work on farms but also Americans making the trip in the opposite direction to find cheaper health insurance. Unlike the activity around the border in Mexico, the United States is a no man's land near it. There is neither activity nor habitation and the area is a vast desert where no one ventures. It was important for Jim Watson to see and show what the border looks like because for him "few people know it". He expected to see many Mexicans trying to cross the border every day, but on his journey he only met one person. Photography is a testimony and these pictures reflect the reality of a life between two countries inevitably linked to each other, despite the desire for separation. Some pictures presented here are from the Ciudad Juarez exhibition, others are photographs taken from the independent works of the 3 AFP photographers on the same theme.

Photo Credit: Jim Watson

 

Mexicans working on farms in the United States cross the border in both directions every day.

Photo Credit: Jim Watson

 

Photo Credit: Jim Watson

 

Photo Credit:  Jim Watson

 

Photo Credit: Jim Watson

 

Photo Credit:  Jim Watson

 

Photo Credit: Guillermo Arias

 

Photo Credit: Yuri Cortez

 

Photo Credit: Yuri Cortez

 

Photo Credit: Guillermo Arias

 

Photo Credit: Guillermo Arias

 

Photo Credit: Guillermo Arias

 

Photo Credit: Guillermo Arias

Photo Credit: Guillermo Arias

 

Photo Credit: Guillermo Arias

 

Photo Credit: Guillermo Arias

 

"On this side also there are dreams".

Photo Credit: Guillermo Arias

 

​The difference in activity between the two sides of the border is blatant here. On the left Mexico, on the right the United States.

Photo Credit: Guillermo Arias

 

Photo Credit: Guillermo Arias

 

Photo Credit: Guillermo Arias

 

Photo Credit: Guillermo Arias

07 May 2018 by Alexandre Nessler

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