Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Images of Juárez: Light does not stop at the border.
I’ve always admired photojournalists, but I’ve never wanted to be one. I like being a professor and a fiction writer, and I’m excited every time I start a new book.
But I love photojournalism.
I love how the images say something not only about what is going on at the time, protests in Libya, riots in Greece, earthquakes in Haiti, but they also say something universal, something about us. I admire how photojournalists risk all for the perfect shot.
I spend a lot of time on New York Times Lens, clicking through the images like I was walking through a museum.
I live in the twin cities, one of which the media constantly reminds us is dangerous, and anyone can end up killed. Recently a UTEP lecturer was killed there. Children are regular victims of bullets.
If I were a photojournalist, I would take my Nikon to the streets of Júarez. I would follow the police and get shots of bodies under sheets on the streets outside of crime scenes where children are looking on.
But when I go to Júarez these days or nights, I don’t bring a camera. I just go, usually with friends, to marches, to drink beers at the Kentucky Club, to eat a taco, and the images of the city that sketch themselves on the walls of my memory usually find a place in my prose.
When I first began to travel parts of the world, Havana, Warsaw, Marseilles, I didn’t believe in taking a camera. I was dead-set against it.
I thought if I brought a camera, it would steal the souls of the images, and there wouldn’t be enough energy left to release into the conduit of my sentences.
Of course now I know that the glow behind any point in space, thus behind the archetypal outline of any image, is infinite energy.
Still, I’m not a photojournalist. But I love that photographs can capture something that would take a thousand words to express in writing. ☺
Of course, in evoking the cliché, “A picture paints a thousand words,” I might very well be making fun of it, but that doesn’t negate any truth the statement might make.
All the shots above and below I took recently in Júarez, nuestra querida ciudad gemela, our beautiful sister. Like all human beings, the landscape within which we live in the twin cities is a passage way into dreams, El paso into imagination, into death and into the distortions fear can warp around reality. Daily we walk into beauty, into ugly, into endless possibility, into endless dead-end streets.
On both sides of the line we breathe in the same air, and the light shines and reflects equally from one side to the other.