“Don’t be fooled por el mito y la leyenda: neither Sin City, nor the happiest place on earth […] Tijuana never stops […] this is why it’s so hard to capture it, and so easy to put labels on it”. Rafa Saavedra, Tijuana makes me happy, 2002.
Our friend Anna BOSCH had been giving a workshop in participatory photography at Rancho Las Flores, a spontaneous settlement in Tijuana: shanties and self-made houses less than 1km from the most frequently crossed international border in the world. Participatory photography (in which Barcelona’s Ruidophoto and CFD had been experimenting since many years) is the experience of teaching photography and providing cameras to people not acquainted with this media; In this way, photography becomes a mirror and a window, as the women (“las Flores”, the flowers) of Tijuana’s Rancho produce images that are both tools for their own collective reflection, and means to communicate their lives and points of view to the outside. In few cities the inhabitants are so heavily influenced by images built from outside: Tijuana is represented alternately as borderland or as “center of the universe”; as a city without law, or as a “perfect place” for US tourists. In this context, producing new images that come from places outside the centers of production of the dominant narratives allows us to explore resistances, to offer new interpretations of the stereotypes, to criticize mainstream images.
- Anna Bosch: Las Flores del Rancho: video – blog – reportage – video2 – recipe for “chiles rellenos“
- Rafael Saavedra (2002) “Tijuana makes me happy“, in Nexos, semi-poetic text about the city, written in Tijuana mixed language, “beyond the narrow alley of spanglish”.
- Fran Ilich (2003) “Delete the border“, in Electronic Book Review, autobiographic writing to introduce Tijuana’s 2002 NoBorder Camp.
- Paula SUÁREZ ÁVILA (2007) “Arte y cultura en la frontera. Consideraciones teóricas sobre procesos culturales recientes en Tijuana“, Anuario de Historia, 1.
- Two projects of RuidoPhoto in participatory photography: Kuidado ke muerden, on punk movement in Cuba [video]; Aula de Creación Visual, with young inmates of Barcelona’s Quatre Camins prison [web]. A famous precedent is Zana Briski’s Kids with Cameras; see also Paula GONZÁLEZ (2011) “La fotografía participativa como medio de análisi social“, Quaderns-e de l’ICA, 16.
- About the influence of hetero-determined narratives on the residents of “cities without law”, obviously, see McDonogh about Barcelona’s Raval district.