All posts tagged: gangs

Shoot Ball, Not Gun

Earlier this year, Sebastian Gil Miranda won First Place in the Campaign category at the Sony World Photography Awards 2015 for his project Shoot Ball, Not Gun. The documentary project took place on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, where he visited one of the most dangerous slums in Argentina where two rival gangs violently struggle for turf and power. Focusing on the town’s children, he photographed them playing football within the courtyard of the Chapel Our Lady of Luján. The children, for whom hearing indiscriminate gunshots at night is common place, are connected to these gangs, with fathers, brothers and family friends caught up in the bloodshed. With entries to the 2016 edition of the Sony World Photography Awards closing soon, we caught up with Miranda to discuss the project.     What’s the genesis of the project? Usually I work helping NGOs and social foundations. In this case, I knew that Uniendo Caminos, a foundation dedicated to educational support for children in various slums of Buenos Aires, needed content to offer workshops in a centre that …

2015-11-24T17:12:40+01:00

Portraits of gang members in a El Salvadoran prison too dangerous for the wardens to enter

Not many photographers get the chance to enter a prison guarded by an army, let alone shoot inside one. But Adam Hinton managed it, travelling to El Salvador, the most densely populated country in Central America, and gaining access to one of the world’s most dangerous gangs. Hinton’s photobook MS-13, published this month by Paul Belford, gathers 22 photographs, primarily portraits of members of the gang La Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13). Each were serving 20 to 40-year sentences in Penal de Ciudad Barrios, a prison with 26,000 inmates – it was built for 800 – and the final destination for the vast majority of convicted MS-13 members. El Salvador has one of the highest homicide rates in the world, with 4,000 murders this year. Gang culture is rife; just last month, gangs forced a bus strike and killed seven drivers. There are an estimated 70,000 active gang members in El Salvador according to the BBC, and approximately 12,000 of them are behind bars. But the images seek to show a human side to such dangerous men, Hinton says. “They only …

2015-10-15T12:33:44+01:00

How did a Scottish photographer get inside America’s strip club scene?

How did Ivar Wigan, a Perth-born, London-based photographer, infiltrate feared gangs and Atlanta strip clubs? “I lived in this motel and went to the club every night for eight or nine weeks,” he says of his series The Gods, recently exhibited at P-A-M, “until I knew all the dancers, all the security, I knew the management, the bar staff, I was the guy who was there every night.” The Gods focuses on the street culture of America’s southern cities; Atlanta, Miami and Los Angeles. The communities depicted — largely black, often deprived of resources and driven to alternative sources of income — represent a side of America that inspire fear and fascination in equal measure among many of its inhabitants. There is a charged dynamic implicit in a middle-class, European photographer documenting their lives for consumption in the cosy environs of a west London art gallery. Wigan distances himself from a grander, societal interpretation of his photos and stresses that his motives were relatively simple: “I was really looking to see what made this scene tick, …

2015-08-14T12:16:24+01:00

Photographing the Patrulleros – the violent vigilantes of Guatemala

“Photojournalism allows me to get close to events on the ground, so that I may better understand them as they unfold,” says award-winning photojournalist Daniele Volpe, who left his birthplace of Priverno, a small town in Latina, south of Rome, and made his home in Guatemala. “This kind of intimacy allows me to share my reportage and maybe draw the viewers in, making them feel closer to the subjects.” Volpe, now 34, started his career as a news photographer but soon felt unfulfilled. “There’s often little continuity in covering news, because news itself doesn’t always allow for follow-ups,” he explains. “As a natural consequence, I felt drawn to reportage, which allows for a more thoughtful approach to image-making, enabling me to tell a story, to create a narrative.” Guatemala is one of three countries in the Northern Triangle buckling from the strain of the gang-related activity that permeates every aspect of society. It has long been besieged by criminality, much of it attributed to two prominent gangs – Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, and Barrio 18 …

2015-07-07T17:02:05+01:00

BJP Staff