Daily Archives: November 21, 2008

From Baghdad to Tijuana: A photographer’s perspective

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Photographer Eros Hoagland has been crossing borders as long as I’ve known him, documenting conflict hotspots around the globe in places like Iraq. He has been spending the last few weeks in Tijuana, where I recently caught up with him.

I asked him how Baghdad compares to Tijuana, and here’s what Eros said:

“Many areas of the U.S.- Mexico border are indeed engulfed in a war.  Homicide statics are flying off the charts in Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez as rival organized crime groups fight for strategic positioning. But it is largely a war of assassination, much different from Iraq or Afghanistan where protracted insurgencies and terrorist groups are fighting a large, well-equipped military machine.” 

A bit of background: I met Eros while I was freelancing in Nicaragua during that country’s 1996 presidential elections, and we  teamed up a few months later in El Salvador to work on a story about deported Los Angeles gang members. Since then, Eros has spent significant time in Iraq, Colombia, Eritrea, Guatemala, Peru and El Salvador, which is where his photographer father was gunned down  in the 1980s while covering the conflict for Newsweek.

In between the freelance gigs with organizations such as The New York Times, Eros has been working on a project that involves documenting border “lines.” Beyond the obvious one – the border fence – Eros sees lines, angles and intersections in less conspicuous places: The glass shards from a violent attack, for example, or in the creases of worry etched in a forehead. In doing so, he captures the fine lines that separate us while revealing our shared humanity. 

To see more of Eros’ work, go here.

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