Jose León experienced deportations, drug use, beatings and other violent scenes, but he also saw a side of migrants that was human and realistic.
León shared his experiences photographing smugglers in Mexico on March 28 in the Auditorium of the Charles V. Park Library.
"I've learned to be afraid of those who do not talk but stare at me," he said
When he told a story about his experiences photographing migrants, he said he was trying to see how life really is. Many of his subjects were involved in human trafficking and drug trafficking.
León decided to photograph this theme because he was inspired by other photographers.
"There are things you can not convey in the text," he said. "I'm not a journalist, I want you to know that I was there and my uneasy presence was noticeable."
The Photos, León "To prepare for his journey, he studied photography and, as León said, did the opposite."
"Rarely do ethnographers give people the opportunity to look into the camera," he said
The fact that migrants became more people enabled him to find a common ground for people's migration, León said , It allowed viewers to connect with them.
Swanton, Ohio Senior Kayla Volz said that she is an anthropologist
"We want to keep her private," said Volz. "It's nice to see him break that mold."
Chino, one of Leon's subjects, was a 20-year-old soldier who had moved through Mexico. He had tried five times to cross the border between the US and Mexico. He was caught 7-11 in Texas when he made it.
"I'm having trouble representing Chino and he may find stability and a way out," León said.
After León left Mexico, Chino was stabbed and sent back to Honduras without medication. Later, Leon received a message stating, "Chino is dead." The puncture wounds had led to an infection that his family could not afford.
"It made me think about how to present topics in anthropology – usually you hide things because you do not want to be racist or so." said Midland junior Christopher Douglas
However, Mexico is trying to solve the migration problem and is failing, León said. For example, Plan Frontera Sur is a plan to control the Mexican border and protect human rights the deportations carried out by the Mexican government.
León said it failed in this last aspect. Instead, the program has made things "more brutal".
Leon has also addressed the role of race in the movie and for the most part is still calibrated for white skin. For this reason, León chose a type of film that helps to show this skin color and has an appearance that other films do not have.