A young Guatemalan girl watches intently…

October, 2017

A young Guatemalan girl watches intently as an activist (acompañadora) and mother of one of the 41 girls who died in the hogar seguro fire last March lead a ceremony to say their names and demand justicia. In a country that has a history of treating girls as if they are disposable, this tragedy represents how women are often the victims of cycles of injustice, violence, and impunity. I held this shot for over two minutes and she never stopped watching the fire. It was haunting. Meanwhile, the young woman leading the ceremony explained to the kids crowding around that it could have happened to any of them, her too.

I usually shoot video and interview subjects alone. Because we worked as a team, I was able to just listen, take notes, and ask questions during many of our meetings to understand this unsolved tragedy. This ceremony was one of our last shoots and it reminded me of the power and responsibility that comes with being behind the camera. 

-Mónica Wise