All photos © David Rochkind. Above: “Border,” February 2007, Mexico.
David Rochkind’s series, “Heavy Hand, Sunken Spirit” is about the social costs and consequences of Mexico’s violent drug war. In the four years since President Felipe Calderon’s inauguration, over 35,000 people have been killed and kidnappings have skyrocketed. The cartels are ruthless, leaving the gruesome nature of their crimes visible to everyone.
Rochkind explains how Mexico is a country in crisis: “The government is battling the drug cartels, the drug cartels are battling each other and there is a palpable fear across the nation. Corruption exists throughout the state and complaints of human rights abuses by the army are widespread. The line between criminals and the authorities is so blurred that the average citizen fears everyone. These photographs attempt to move beyond simple depictions of carnage to explore the stress and tension that is left in the wake of such violence and illustrate how this conflict will impact and handicap Mexico’s future.” Rochkind’s exhibition, “Heavy Hand, Sunken Spirit,” opens at Blue Sky gallery in Portland, Oregon, on February 2, 2012.
Above: This stretch of the border divides Nogales, Arizona, at left and Nogales, Sonora, at right. There has been little violent spillover into the U.S., though recently U.S. citizens have been killed with more frequency in Mexico. In March of 2010, two U.S. Consulate workers were gunned down in Ciudad Juarez. –Courtesy of Blue Sky Gallery