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Jake Price November 28, 2011

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Mexico.

Migrants in Lecheria, Mexico 2008

Jake Price (b. 1973, United States) saved up for his first camera with change he had scraped together when he was 17 and has been photographing ever since.  He is currently working on a long term project in Haiti and Japan examining both countries response to their natural disasters. Jake’s work has taken him to Sierra Leone, Uganda, Kenya, China, Pakistan amongst other countries. His photographs have appeared in the New York Times, TIME, Rolling Stone, Orion and Newsweek, Le Monde II , BBC Online and in publications throughout the world.

About the Photograph:

“I took this photo in Lecheria, a rundown violent crossroads just outside of Mexico City. Migrants, mainly form Central America, ride freight trains to Lecheria and then wait for another train to take them to various points north along the US/Mexico border. I arrived at dawn and worked throughout the day. Upon arrival in the blue morning, the atmosphere felt ominous with billowing exhaust from nearby factories. By the time the migrants reach Lecheria they are destitute, most at that point have been robbed, the women sexually assaulted. Some die on the way and do not make it at all. This picture was taken in the afternoon as the sun was trying to make its way though a hazy sky which finally broke in the afternoon. Despite the warmth, the young who scavenged and slept along the tracks were cold shivering in the sunlight. While scavenging they searched for whatever might be of use to them—in this case the young guy found a tattered piece of plastic sheeting which could be used as a cover, a jacket, a tent along the way north. Because most had everything stripped from them just about anything they found was made use of in multiple ways.”

“I thought that I had seen destitution when I photographed refugees, but these kids, they had even less.  Apart from the material things that were stripped from them, they were stripped of community when they left their families and friends.  On the rails their relationships consist of fleeting bonds that are formed along the way. The only lasting trust they have is in their instincts to survive and the goal to keep pushing north. This photo is a part of a long term project about how small rural villages around the world are emptying out and with them a way of life.  Most of humanity now lives in or around urban centers, a trend which is going to accelerate for years to come. This photo represents young people’s journey from their families, however mainly the project is about people’s homeland and those who still remain.”