I like to be wrong, sometimes.
Like yesterday morning, Sunday. We went out early to go with Alexia Webster, one of the wonderful journalists who is part of my group, to prepare her street studio. Alexia had bought big fake flowers, and found a vase and a chair. She prepared a blue background with brown curtains. Her idea was to shoot portraits of anyone who wanted it and to print the photo right away to leave it as a reminder. She decided to stand in front of a shelter we passed by once a day: Juventud 2000, in the Zona Norte. Immigrants, poor people, deported, addicted, homeless and prostitutes. Will they really want to be portrayed in such a difficult time of their lives? I did not think so.
I thought we would find resistance, hesitation, and refusal. Instead, I was wrong: they all came. Like Alfredo Mendez, deported from Palm Springs the night before, after 26 years of life across the border, with a bible, one dollar, and two teeth in his pocket: the dentist in Mexico costs less, at least. Or Luis Javiér, 5 years old, with his super hero cap and the Chivas t-shirt. His dad is a Barça’s fan. Or Norma, from Nayarit, who cares for her three daughters and a granddaughter. She will leave this neighborhood next week to live in a safer place in a home she bought with her husband after years of sacrifices. A place where girls do not run the risk of seeing a suitcase in a shopping cart with a body squashed inside. She already has everything planned. She will draw a tree in the room of the little girls and on each branch she will attach a small frame of their life. Probably, without Alexia, in recent years, there would be nothing to save or even remember.
– Claudia Bellante