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Looking Across the Border for Topic

In December 2018 I went to Tijuana, Mexico, for Topic to direct the documentary series “Looking Across the Border” in which we asked migrant and asylum seeking kids and teens what they thought their life would be when they crossed the border. Their responses, which detail dreams of school, skateboarding, and freedom from violence, stand in sharp contrast to political rhetoric and the harsh circumstances that brought them here in the first place. The work was done with cinematographer Ben Ingoldsby, sound designer Alberto Sánchez Nué and editor Irené Baqué.

A week after the release Kira Joseffson interviewed me about the series and on my work along Mexico and specially along the northern border, you can see it here.

 

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The United Soya Republic opens at Centro Cultural Juan de Salazar in Asunción

The biannual photo festival El Ojo Salvaje opens this month in Asunción, Paraguay, with a series of exhibitions and talks devoted to land use and land issues around the world. With works by colleagues such as Daniella Zalcman, Pablo Piovano, Isadora Romero and Luis Vera, my ongoing work The United Soya Republic will be on a solo exhibition at Centro Cultural Juan de Salazar, from the 6th until the 30th of December.
Prior to the opening on the 6th on a round table conducted by Mayeli Alba with members of the OLT, Organisation for Land Struggle, and myself we will discuss the photographic work and the realities of campesino communities in the country and the effect agribusiness is having on them
As part of the festival, I will also conduct a workshop with local photographers titled Photographic Narratives on the days 7th and 8th of September, where we will discuss ways to various approaches to developing long-term projects as well as edit the student’s work.

 

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Costa Rica, ripe for Malaria Elimination published at WHOs website

Following the 2nd Annual Global Forum of Malaria-Eliminating Countries held last month in Costa Rica by the World Health Organization, we travelled to Limón to document the efforts made by the Costa Rican Ministry of Health to eliminate malaria on its soil, especially in the banana plantation regions. The work was published on the WHO website with words by Edward Mishaud and video by filmmaker Duna Tatour.

 

Bananas are washed in water before being packed for exporting at a large plantation in Matina. Characterized by extreme heat, humidity and extended rainy seasons Costa Rica has a perfect weather for them to grow. With the need of ample water to grow them, it is also a prime condition for malaria-carrying mosquitoes, which like to breed in relatively clean and stagnant water such as ditches, rain puddles and small streams.

Miradas a la Ciudad – A Look Back at the City opens at the Museum of the City of Mexico

The project Miradas a la Ciudad – A Look Back at the City, on which I worked last November, will be exhibited at the redeveloped and just re-opened Museum of the City of Mexico. Active for over 50 years, the museum has opened its first permanent exhibition space devoted to the analysis and study of Mexico City’s urban phenomenon. With the aim of giving voice to those who make Mexico City such a unique place – from a taco seller in Colonia Narvarte to a taxi driver in Observatorio, Garibaldi Plaza’s mariachis and the Santa Muerte worshippers in Tepito – I was asked to create a series of portraits that would be shown alongside words by Georgina Hidalgo Vivas, who curated the room with Mediapro Exhibitions.

 

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“Can Sugar Tax Work?” for The Telegraph Magazine

Mexico, the consumption of fizzy drinks per capita and obesity rates are among the highest in the world, and yet it was one of the first nations to introduce such a tax. I worked with journalist Henry Bodkin in Mexico City and the southern state of Chiapas in a bid to understand the effects of the tax on fizzy drinks consumption and people’s lives?. The Telegraph Magazine has just published the work.

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Covering the Caravana Migrante for Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal

Organised by Pueblos Sin Fronteras, a group of Human Rights activists and volunteers, the Caravana Migrante helps groups of Central American migrants and asylum seekers safely reach the US border. The journey can be dangerous and the organisation operates in the belief that there is safety in numbers.

Since its beginning in 2010, the month-long ‘Caravan’ has been relatively low-key, but in 2018 it reached a record 1500 people, mainly families fleeing political instability after the controversial elections in Honduras. The large number prompted President Trump to tweet about it, creating a political and media storm between both countries with participants at the centre. I covered a stretch of the Caravan’s route for the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg. The photos were also published on the front page of Italy’s la Repubblica.

 

 

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“Tapachula, Carrefour des Exilés” published in M Le Magazine du Monde

To get to Tapachula is to see the end of the tunnel. The border city of southern Mexico provides relief to hundreds of thousands of refugees en route to the United States. Many come from Latin America, but also, since Europe has been tightening its borders, from Africa or Asia. And yet, with Donald Trump and his wall project, what should be a stopover turns into the end of the journey for many.” – Maryline Baumard, French journalist.

Following Maryline Baumard‘s report on Tapachula, I went to the southern Mexican city to document the situation for migrants from Asia, Africa and Latin America. M Le Magazine du Monde published the work and a slideshow of it can be seen here.

 

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Coverage of the aftermath of Mexico’s earthquakes for MSF

In September 2017, two major earthquakes hit Mexico, killing 500 people and injuring thousands. Thousands of homes were damaged in several states across the country. Acting under the instruction of MSF / Doctors Without Borders, emergency response teams made up of psychologists and social workers assisted families who had either lost or could no longer return to their homes following the earthquakes. I collaborated with the NGO to document its work on the ground. Some of the work can be seen on their website.

 

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Finalist of the Thomson Reuters Foundation & Barilla Center Media Award

Thomson Reuters Foundation and Barilla Center partnered up to create the Food Sustainability Media Award, which “aims to recognise the work of professional journalists and emerging talent from all over the world for excellence in reporting and communicating issues related to food security, sustainability, agriculture and nutrition”. I was among the finalists for my ongoing work, The United Soya Republic.

 

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Move to Mexico City

After several visits to Mexico and Central America over the last few years, I have now moved to Mexico City from where I’ll be covering the region as well as pursuing long-term personal projects. I can now be reached on the local number +521 55 32392927 or via WhatsApp on +34 636 217900.

 

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Los Menonos part of the main exhibition in the 16th Dong Gang International Photo Festival

Los Menonos is travelling to Korea where it will be on show as part of the main exhibition at the 16th Dong Gang International Photo Festival. Curated by HeeJung Kim, the festival this year goes under the title ‘I conflict, therefore I am”. Running from 14 July until 1 October 2017 at the Dong Gang Museum of Photography, the exhibition – the second largest photo exhibition in the country – is part of an expansive programme of photography events. The work will also be part of a comprehensive publication alongside other invited artists.

 

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Mitad y Mitad – collaboration with Huck magazine

The film Mitad y Mitad, which I shot and directed last month in Juarez, has been published on Huck magazine’s website and can be seen here. The film follows the daily commute Karla Nutter makes between Juárez, Mexico and El Paso in Texas.

At 22, Karla is among the 2.7 million people who make up El-Paso-Juárez-Las Cruces, one of the largest bi-national regions in the world. In any other metropolitan area her commute to work would take 20 minutes, but things are slower when you have to cross an international border.” A collaborative piece of work made with a great team, the project was edited by Isabel Freeman and produced by Isabel, Andy Kurland (who also wrote the accompanying article) and myself.

 

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The United Soya Republic solo exhibition at Francesca Maffeo Gallery, UK

Following my collaboration with contemporary photography gallery Francesca Maffeo Gallery, The United Soya Republic will be exhibited as a solo show from 22 April until the 3 June 2017.

Francesca Maffeo Gallery is pleased to present The United Soya Republic by Jordi Ruiz Cirera, opening on 22 April 2017. This exhibition presents a journey through the heartlands of the Southern Cone’s agribusiness; it is a portrayal of the changes to the landscape and socio-economic tissue brought about by intensive farming and the exportation of produce in Argentina and Paraguay. Francesca Maffeo Gallery will also present a selection from Cirera’s award winning series Los Menonos in the Print Room Gallery.”

The private view takes place on Friday 21 April 2017 from 6-9pm.

 

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Plumbing vs Gangs at Giangiacomo Fondazione Feltrinelli’s exhibition for World Water Day in Milan

 

On the occasion of World Water Day and in partnership with WaterAid, Giangiacomo Fondazione Feltrinelli curated the exhibition Water is Life to highlight water issues in several parts of the world. The foundation showcased my work, Plumbing vs Gangs, which I made in Nicaragua in 2015.

 

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The Unseen Cost of Agriculture in Argentina, National Geographic

National Geographic publishes part of work I made about the impact of intensive agriculture and cattle ranching in Argentina’s rural areas alongside words by Daniel Stone. This is the second chapter of my long-term project The United Soya Republic, which I started in 2013 in Paraguay.

 

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Searching for our missing children, published by The Guardian

Almost a thousand people enter Mexico daily, heading for the US. Some never make it – they are kidnapped, imprisoned or killed along the way. Each year, in a bid to find their lost loved ones, a group of women from Central America travels together across Mexico, raising their voices in protest, distributing photographs of the missing and sharing each other’s pain. This is their story.” Last month we travelled to Mexico with director Irene Baqué to follow the Caravan of Mothers of missing migrants for The Guardian. The film was published on The Guardian’s website and can be seen here.

 

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Photos and testimony from the battle against global food corporations at Rich Mix in London

This October, agriculture company Monsanto faces an international hearing at which witnesses from across the world who allege they have suffered human rights abuses, threats to their communities and destruction of their environment, will be present.

Last August, I was commissioned by Global Justice Now to go to India and Bangladesh to document the situation for farmers affected by the company’s policies who are fighting to establish an alternative model of farming.

The work will be exhibited at Rich Mix London where Farida Akhter, a Bangladeshi economist and founder of UBINIG, one of biggest collections of community seed banks in the world, will be talking about the initiative she’s been working on to hit back against corporate seed control in her country.

Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Rd, London E1 6LA, 18.30pm, Friday 7 October. The exhibition will travel to Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester and Bristol before The Hague

 

 

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Bright Spark Runner-up, Magenta Foundation’s Flash Forward Award

Established in 2004, The Magenta Foundation is Canada’s pioneering charitable arts-publishing house. My ongoing work The United Soya Republic focusing on land-issues in Paraguay has been awarded second place in the foundation’s global award. The work will be published in a catalogue alongside other winning work and exhibited in Toronto.

 

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Recipient of the Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund

Delighted to announce that I’m a recipient of the Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund, which will allow me to continue my long-term project The United Soya Republic, focusing on the realities of agribusiness expansion in Argentina.

The Emergency Fund, which was set up in response to the shrinking opportunities for storytelling within established media, has to date supported 78 photographers. This year’s 18 grantees were selected from more than 140 photographers nominated anonymously by 26 international photo editors, publishers, curators and educators.

A massive thank you to the person who nominated me, and congratulations to the other winners whose work can be seen on TIME LightBox here.

Through production grants, mentorship, and project development assistance, the Magnum Foundation Fund fosters diversity and creativity in documentary photography and related practices. In collaboration with the Prince Claus Fund, the Magnum Foundation Fund supports both emerging and experienced practitioners. Each year, a changing international committee of nominators invites photographers to submit proposals for consideration, which are then selected by an independent jury. Selected projects are those that explore new models of storytelling, demonstrate a commitment to social issues, and/or are grounded in the communities they represent.”

 

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The United Soya Republic will be exhibited at Under 35 at Ivorypress in Madrid during PhotoEspaña

On 26 May 2015, as part of PHotoEspaña’s Off festival, Ivorypress will present the group exhibition Under 35, which brings together the work of five young Spanish photographers: Laia Abril, Alberto Lizaralde, Javier Marquerie Thomas, Óscar Monzón and Jordi Ruiz Cirera. Influenced by their own environment and conscious of the importance of their work at this moment in time, the work of these five up-and-coming artists reflects a new generation of Spanish photographers with an international presence. The lack of institutional support has led several of them to become their own managers, publishing and promoting their work with great creative freedom, energy and eagerness, and producing, as a result, the most significant and inspiring work the genre has seen in recent years.”

There will be a round table with the five photographers chaired by Joan Fontcuberta on 26 May. The exhibited works at Under 35 will also be published in a catalogue of the same name, which will be available at the Ivorypress shop, and later, at select bookstores.

 

 

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Los Menonos solo exhibition at Gallery Vasli Souza in Mälmo, Sweden

From 20 February until 21 March, Los Menonos will be exhibited at the Gallery Vasli Souza in Mälmo, Sweden. The gallery has been a centre for contemporary photography in the city since 2012. It promotes a multicultural philosophy by showcasing the work of artists from different parts of the globe and has an interest in concepts that specifically relate to cultural studies. The gallery endeavours to cover popular and often unnoticed nuances within power structures, social class, gender and nationalism.

The opening takes place on Friday 20 February at 6pm. There will also be a signing of the recently released book, Los Menonos. The address is: Gallery Vasli Souza, Gustav Adolfs Torg 10B, 21139, Mälmo, Sweden.

 

 

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