Ten years ago, Julián Cardona, a photojournalist from Juárez, Mexico, began to document the devastating effects of globalization on the U.S.-Mexico border. Since that time he has amassed thousands of photographs bearing witness to the harsh reality of border life, from the hundreds of unsolved murders of Mexican women in Juárez, to the social effects caused by low wages paid in border factories; from the exodus of Mexican immigrants fleeing their country and its collapsing economy, to the shanty town communities living in slum conditions right next to the wealthiest country in the world. His photo documentation of the violence, poverty and social upheaval he witnesses tells a story that one hundred years from now will still cause people to feel the wounds of an era.
Born in Zacatecas, Mexico, Mr. Cardona was a small child when his family moved to Juárez. He attended school there, received vocational training, and worked as a technician in a maquiladora (a foreign owned factory), where he worked to earn money to buy his first camera. A self-taught photographer, in 1991 he moved back to Zacatecas to teach beginning photography at the Centro Cultural de Zacatecas. Two years later he started his photojournalism career at the publications El Fronterizo and El Diario de Juárez. In 1995 he organized a group show called “Nada que ver” (Nothing to See), which contained the work of photojournalists who document the daily violence, death and poverty that accompanies life in Juarez. Photographs of that show were featured in Harpers Magazine in 1996. In 1998 Mr. Cardona’s work appeared in the book Juárez: The Laboratory of Our Future, which features essays by Charles Bowden, Noam Chomsky, and Eduardo Galeano. Mr. Cardona’s photographs of the interior of maquiladoras in Juárez were published in Aperture No. 159, “Camera of Dirt.”
Mr. Cardona’s photographs have been featured in exhibits in Mexico, the United States, and Europe.