Archive, Photojournalism, Portrait

Border Towns: Living with the Cartel

All images from the series Crossings: Photographs from the U.S.-Mexico Border © Alex Webb

Alex Webb has photographed the US-Mexican border life for over thirty years, his strong colours, harsh lighting and careful framing the stated inspiration for cinematographer Roger Deakins in Denis Villeneuve's dark thriller Sicario.

Alex Webb, an active member of the international photographic cooperative Magnum, published his border photography in the 2003 book Crossings: Photographs from the U.S.-Mexico Border.

Webb, a regular contributor to the New York Times, Life and National Geographic, first visited the border in 1975, long before the drug-related violence that has erupted in the past decade.

“On that first trip I became interested by the notion of the border as a kind of third country, neither the United States nor Mexico, a place with its own rules, its own traditions,” he tells BJP.

Last year, Webb’s photography came to the attention of Academy-nominated cinematographer Roger Deakins, who claimed it was a key inspiration to shooting Sicario, the unflinching feature film from 2015, set amongst the Mexican drug cartels, and starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro.

Although initially shooting in black and white, it was Webb’s saturated colour photography that caught Deakins’ eye.

 

Subscribe to the British Journal of Photography for the best stories in contemporary photography delivered to your door every month.