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David Rochkind's Photographs of Mexico's Drug War

Photography // Tuesday, 14 Jan 2014
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David Rochkind's "Heavy Hand, Sunken Spirit" project documents Mexico's seemingly never ending violent drug war. Speaking on the subject of documenting the violence, 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."

In the four year since Mexican President Felipe Calderon escalated the battle against the country’s drug cartels,  more than 35,000 people have been killed and kidnappings have skyrocketed. 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.

Heavy Hand, Sunken Spirit is a project about the social costs and consequences of Mexico’s violent drug war. It frames the violence as a symptom, as opposed to the problem, and one of a variety of symptoms that will haunt the country for generations.  This country is in the midst of a “conflict” in every sense of the word, and 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.  I am not creating a story about violence that happens to be set in Mexico, but rather a story about Mexico’s present situation, offering a snapshot of a time that will be referred to for decades as people look for answers to make sense of Mexican society.  I want each image to convey a sense of Mexico, her color, and her culture.

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