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"In The End We Don't Kill Any Of Those People"
June 17, 2011 5:38 PM   Subscribe

Enrique Metinides artfully captured five decades of mayhem in Mexico City. His successors keep his tradition alive. "David Alvarado is a quiet guy who does one of the ugliest jobs in this world but he will win your sympathy with his famous saying "se logró el objetivo" (the objective was accomplished). previously (graphic images and content Very NSFW and NSFC not safe for children)

The new generation of Mexican tabloid photographers carry on his tradition and the dangerous work of working the night shift in Mexico City. Here is their story of working in the midst of death. (NSFW)
posted by Xurando (20 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
I've only just started this, but so far I'm really liking it; thanks for posting this.
posted by Forktine at 6:14 PM on June 17, 2011


I sure hope the mods think he was careful enough!!!

It's an interesting topic, at first one is so repulsed by the whole thing, but in the end, it's
stuff that goes on everywhere. Is it better to just ignore it?
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 7:46 PM on June 17, 2011


Pre-posting MeTa in which all the saying mentioned above happened (and is still happening).
posted by mendel at 8:09 PM on June 17, 2011


Wow, great post - interesting stuff, thank you.
posted by triggerfinger at 8:18 PM on June 17, 2011


Yes, it's all 'NSFW'. It's a documentary about photographers who prowl the streets of Mexico City, taking graphic images of murder and accident victims, and such images (generally images of images, but images of extraordinary brutality) do feature prominently. Comically, in the midst of all of this a brief glimpse of male genitalia is blurred out.
Nonetheless it is a very interesting bit of film-making for all sorts of reasons: Mexico City by night, a shrine to the saint of death, ruminations on the Mexican relationship with death, Cuban women sending their photos to a gore magazine they've never seen or read in the hopes of finding Mexican or American 'pen-pals'... Worth watching.
posted by Flashman at 9:21 PM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


[Added NSFW link, please take discussion of the NSFW-ness to the MeTa that is already open please, thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 9:24 PM on June 17, 2011


I'm glad this post is up, and I'm confident nothing bad will happen as a consequence of its existence.
posted by stinkycheese at 10:46 PM on June 17, 2011


Pretty amazing stuff. There is some good commentary about the perception of death and societal comfort levels about the subject from the photographers and the editor of the magazine. Just because I don't want to see it doesn't mean it isn't happening.
posted by tmt at 12:43 AM on June 18, 2011


These are well-constructed and haunting photographs, but they feel a bit exploitative. Take the Adela Legaretta Rivas photo as an example. She was apparently a journalist and a writer, but none of that matters - she'll be remembered for how great she looked after getting run over by a Datsun.

It's one thing if the photo conveys a socially relevant message (highlighting the effect of war, for example). This is just gawking at random tragedy, an aesthetically pleasing rotten.com.
posted by vanar sena at 12:56 AM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hm, looks like my comment and most others have been pre-empted in the pre-emptive MeTa.
posted by vanar sena at 2:03 AM on June 18, 2011


I don't have a requirement that photographs convey a socially relevant message; these photos highlight the effect of life in Mexico City. The crime rate is seriously high (#8 worldwide), so that's "socially relevant" if you live there. It's not more or less exploitative than the way news is reported in the rest of the world, it's just that the images are less censored. It isn't that photographers from the Washington Post won't or don't take those photos; it's that the Washington Post won't publish them. People in the US and Europe get a very sanitary version of the news, on balance.

Bloodshed that takes place on a battlefield isn't more morally relevant than bloodshed on an urban street corner. That seems like a weird argument to make.

The thing about the "Cuban Corner" reader photos is fascinating. Especially since those women are not actually readers.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:24 AM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


these photos highlight the effect of life in Mexico City

Once again I highlight my allusion to rotten.com. That site feels tawdry and exploitative - and the content is more or less similar, just presented differently (point and laugh, I guess?). I'm not sure why I'm supposed to gain an insight into life from one set of photos but not the other.

What is the woman sobbing next to her dead brother at a car crash supposed to tell us? Surely it could be more than "folks, drive carefully."

That said, I wish I could better define the line between documentary and gawking.
posted by vanar sena at 4:40 AM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think that well thought out, well composed, shots of difficult work, is less explotive, because it spends more time conferring visual information in sensitive ways. Rotten's collection of stills is badly cropped, the light is often wrong, the point of focus is skewed, the explotation comes from a lack of or a refusal of formal skills.
posted by PinkMoose at 4:48 AM on June 18, 2011


The only reason I posted this is for someone to tell me how David Alvarado can drive his Volkswagen at 60 mph on the streets of Mexico City with that blue thing on his windshield and not get killed himself. What is that blue thing on his windshield anyway?
posted by Xurando at 5:11 AM on June 18, 2011


This shit happens. Frequently. In that aspect showing it is reporting at it's trueist. It is not a pleasant subject. Much photo journalism shown outside the USA is much more "in yer face" and up front.
Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily. If more pictures of body bags were shown being shipped back to USA from Iraq and Afghanistan maybe the anti war movement would have gained more traction. I think maybe governments and mass media shield their citizens too much from many realities as they are afraid to face up to the truth.
That doesn't mean it is nice.
When Metinideswas asked-- "Are you a photographer or an artist?" -- he answered:
"I'm a photographer by accident, who took photos by chance thanks to movies that I saw and tried to imitate, like a photographer or a director of a scene. And this allowed me to make unique photos in the tabloids, something that is rare, no?"
So here we have someone taking on the spot photos being influenced by the fiction of movies which is now being slated as "Not Suitable for Work".
How much do we have to hide from reality? However horrible it might be.
I am not advocating 24/7 snuff films but people should be shown some of the horror that goes down in an unhyped and unsensationalist way.
posted by adamvasco at 7:40 AM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was wondering the same thing, Xurando! It looks kind of cool though, like it's supposed to have some purpose, to aid with navigation maybe, to guide you through the smog.
I was also wondering just how hard it'd be to get one of those mint-condition Beetles to drive up here in Canada?
posted by Flashman at 8:16 AM on June 18, 2011


I am not advocating 24/7 snuff films but people should be shown some of the horror that goes down in an unhyped and unsensationalist way.

I'm all for in-your-face realism, no question. My only doubt is the threshold where our need to see this stuff outweighs the dignity of the dead people and their families.
posted by vanar sena at 9:52 AM on June 18, 2011


This is where the culture part comes in. Mexico's Catholicism kind of gears it towards the blood and gore of the sinner. I have noticed in my travels that it is more the Catholic countries which have decapitated bodies and pools of blood on their front pages. I know when i first came to spain 30 years ago I was kind of shocked by the road accident story page in that instead of a picture of burnt wreckage there would be the obligatory pool of blood and maybe charred something.
Also in Mexico as in much of Central and South America it seems as if there may still be a cultural inheritance lurking about.
posted by adamvasco at 10:36 AM on June 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


people should be shown some of the horror that goes down in an unhyped and unsensationalist way.

Why? What are we going to do about it? Is there any point to feeling bad about something we can do nothing about? Does it not distract us from local, effective change?

In other words, at what point does being horrified at things we cannot effect become another version of "bread and circuses"?
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:18 AM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Xurando: "The only reason I posted this is for someone to tell me how David Alvarado can drive his Volkswagen at 60 mph on the streets of Mexico City with that blue thing on his windshield and not get killed himself. What is that blue thing on his windshield anyway"

That's a blue "Oakley"-O, I think. All sorts of stickers and decals on the windshield are common here, with text, logos, illustrations, etc.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 7:31 PM on June 18, 2011


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