What happens when you give to seemingly oppositional social forces disposable cameras? Hopefully a more humanized image of conflict, in this case the Minutemen vs. illegal border-crossers coming from Mexico. The Border Film Project supplied disposable cameras to immigrants in Mexican shelters and asked them to document their journeys. The vigilante Minutemen group who are patrolling the US-Mexico frontier were given a similar opportunity.
Although the process would seem neutral, one cannot help but see more clearly power relations between racial groups and nations. Sadly, the largely white Minutemen appear no better than emasculated males who are “playing army” in a situation of greater chaos in which they feel powerless. (View a chilling anti-immigrant ad by one of the Minutemen founders, Jim Gilchris- requires Windows Media Player.) Of course I am biased and feel inclined to empathize with the plight of the immigrants who face tremendous stress in their environments as well. The band Control Machete from Monterey remind us in their lyrics that it is the US, after all, that keeps beaming images of prosperity and magic through the media. Are we not Oz?
WHY WE DID IT:
To simplify the complexities of immigration and the U.S.-Mexico border, and to show the realities on the ground. To date, we have received more than 1,500 photographs and more continue to arrive everyday. The pictures speak for themselves. They capture the humanity present on both sides of the border. They tell stories that no news piece or policy debate or academic study could convey. They are non-partisan and inclusive”
(Via Huffington Post.)