Monday, June 16, 2008

Day One: In the field with Kael

Alright so I played hookie (not hooker, thats the San Pablo story...) from director today and went ans (finally!) got to shoot something. Headed out with Matt Steel, Katie Orlinsky, and Kirsten Luce- all phenomenal photogs in their own rights- and Kael Alford, our professora, to Lecheria, an area of Df where the trains come through , toting cargo, cars and, on the roofs, Central American immigrants. It took us almost 2 hours to rack an down, however- complete with talking to -then avoiding - railroad security, some old men in a pool hall, another random locals. finally, we just walked up the train tracks, Katie climbed into one of the stationary train cars- and, perhaps thinking this was a sign, two young men came out of hiding. We conversed with them for some time, both young (mid 20s at the oldest) and heading to Celaya, Mexico to do home building work. Hungry, dirty and worn out, the journey thus far sometimes takes up to 6 weeks. Many of the train routes have been shut done as of July 2007, and the ride hasnt gotten easier- bandits and police, often one and the same, harass, rob and even kill the migrants, and the journey is fraught with danger from the train ride itself- every year hundreds of immigrants lose legs, arms, and even heads to the dangers of rolling stock, sharp metal and high speed. We took a lot of photos of their sleeping "quarters"- old cement pipes and cardboard boxes- and more and more migrants came down the tracks. By the time we had to leave we had spoken to over a dozen (with well north of 20 there, under a highway bridge). A grassroots NGO was handing out clothing and sandwiches, and it was remarkable and powerful to see so many young people heading north for a hopefully better life. They were gracious enough to allow all of us to crowd them and photograph them, a bit like paparazzi, and we listened as Kirsten and Katie, both speakers of impeccable Spanish, translated their stories for us. A few pics below of students and Kael working and a few not so good results (why didnt I post the better ones ? too tired) from the shoot...Kael is a GREAT teacher by the way, patient, kind and with both a quick sense of humor and an amazing eye...

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