Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Border Film Project, organized by Brett Huneycutt, Victoria Criado and Rudy Adler, three Southwesterners obsessed with border issues and the problem of portraying the border in a new light, passed out disposable cameras to migrants on the Mexican side and minute men on the U.S. side. They then took the photos from the cameras they recieved back and created slide shows on their website,

Though the three began the project in 2005, the collection of images remain quite relevant today. As the economy remains unstable, and migrants continue to pass over, Americans continue to fret about the effect of illegals on job opportunities. The escalating drug wars, fought largely on the Mexican side, raise concerns of violence following migrants over the border. Increased border control in California and Texas has changed the stakes of migrating across, diverting foot traffic around and through the more trecherous terrain of Arizona/Sonora desert region.

The Broder Film Project provides a intimate perspective of both Minute Men and migrants, personalizing hotly debated topics. The cameras came in from many different journies and experiences that had nothing to do with each other, and the array of images resist order. Each photograph provides a glimpse into the transitory life across--a picture of brutally bruised and blistered feet, say, or of several people resting in the underbrush. What is striking is how very little migrants carry across, and how: in bags tied with twine, fastened across shoulders with ropes, or in small day packs. They carry so little with them, crossing makeshift bridges and rickety trestles, pushing through the thick brush at night, rolling under barbed wire fences and waiting along the bleak side of the road, that it become undeniably apparent that they carry more hope than anything else with them.

The terrain figures highly in each set of photographs, fitting, as the geography determines these peoples' lives. The land is rugged, and even in the minimal abilities of disposable cameras, the broad expanse of wild land is clear. The violent beauty of the land and sky come through in both sets of photos, giving a dramatic backdrop against which the border drama plays out.

The minute men's photos are stationary in comparassion to the migrants. The photos show established posts, whether seated beneath trees, being a look out from a high boulder, makeshift outposts, or along the side of the road, they are waiting for the migrants to come through.

The Project's beauty lies in the simplicity of photographs, illustrating the unimaginable daily life of people along the border so lending an intimacy to a debate that is more often than not about numbers, not people.


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