Monthly Archives: March 2018

Politics and a Struggling Coal Town

A horse grazes in front of the smoke stacks of a coal refinery in Nueva Rosita, Coahuila.

A horse grazes in front of the smoke stacks of a coal refinery in Nueva Rosita, Coahuila.

Mexican politics is often one giant quagmire of corruption, mistrust, and nepotism, the likes of which are hard to understand for anyone growing up in a country with a stable political climate. The average Mexican has next to no faith in their government, and decades of deception, embezzlement, and greed has done little to change this. And so in true form, the upcoming elections in the summer of 2018 are set to be a contentious and scandal-filled race in which working-class Mexicans will be prodded and coerced to vote for candidates who will likely do very little to help them once in office.

Cristina Auerbach, an activist for miner’s rights, stands for a portrait in front of newly constructed memorial crosses for deceased miners in Nueva Rosita, Coahuila.

A man looks at the monument for the 65 miners who died in the Pasta de Concho mining disaster in front of the Mexico City stock exchange.

As an outsider who is just starting to learn the complexities of Mexico and it’s political system, I am always eager to learn more about the country I now call home. So when Buzzfeed News asked me to travel to Coahuila, a northern state bordering the US, I said yes immediately. I won’t try and explain all the complexities of this story because the journalist Karla Zabludovsky did a better job than I ever could, but it is definitely worth reading.

Set against the backdrop of a failing coal mining town, Nueva Rosita, and a disaster that claimed the lives of 65 miners, this story has all the political intrigue that one might expect from Mexico. Plus I was able to shoot purely stills for this, which after the back pain from carrying video equipment around for the last several years, is a nice change!

Elvira Martinez sits for a portrait inside her father’s home in Palau, Coahuila. Her husband, Jorge Vladimir Muñoz, was killed in the Pasta de Conchos mining disaster that claimed the lives of 65 miners.

Benito Rosales lost two of his brothers, Amado and Juan Manuel Rosales, in the Pasta de Conchos mining disaster that claimed the lives of 65 others.

Two miners are seen silhouetted in the doorway of an abandoned mining structure in Nueva Rosita, Coahuila.

Memorial crosses for the 65 miners who died in the Pasta de Concho mining disaster stand n Nueva Rosita, Coahuila.

You can read the full story here 

Posted in Blog, Central America, Environmental, Mexico Tagged , , , , |

Environmental Project with Buzzfeed Mexico

I’ve been working on the topic of extreme water shortages in Mexico City for nearly two years, and like many personal project I’ve had a tough time getting it out into the world. The scale of what I was proposing was difficult for the format of many publications, and the New York Times released a major project about a similar theme just as I was getting ready to publish, making it doubly hard to find a publishing partner!

But just as I was about to give up hope of ever seeing this story in the world, I was introduced to the very motivated and enthusiastic team at Buzzfeed News. After looking over the various angles involved in the story of Mexico City’s urban drought, we decided to focus on a group of volunteer women in Iztapalapa working to make a bad situation slightly more bearable for their community. Since I spent a great deal of time with these women and knew that they were getting next to no exposure for their efforts, I was more than happy to profile them in a major international publication.

It’s been a long road to getting the first part of this story out into the world and I’m grateful to the talented journalists and editors at Buzzfeed News (not the “top 5 cutest cats on the internet” side of the business!) for their belief in the project.

You can see the full article here

Posted in Blog, Central America, Environmental, Mexico, Water Tagged , , , |

Shooting the Jaguar iPace in Mexico City

As a documentary DP and filmmaker, so much of my work centres around telling true stories and because of the responsibility not to distort reality I am often somewhat limited in the technical tricks I can bring to bear on productions. It is almost never feasible to bring a full lighting set up to a run and gun documentary shoot, and crew sizes are usually tiny. And while I love this way of working and wouldn’t change it for the world, sometimes it’s a nice change of pace to work on something several orders of magnitude more complex. So when Jaguar Motors asked me to work on the commercial for their new electric car in front of the Mexico City Formula E race, I was excited for the challenge.

Unlike the bare bones style of documentary production, there was no shortage of people or gear on this shoot. With dozens of people operating multiple cameras, drones, Steadicams, Movis, dollies, and reflectors, this was one of the more technically intensive projects I’ve worked on since moving to Mexico. Considering that the whole commercial was shot in one day, edited the same night, and transmitted the next morning to sports channels around the world, I think the output is more than impressive. I probably won’t abandon the doc world for commercials any time soon, but having the chance to work on something outside my comfort zone and pick up new skills is always an opportunity to be seized. Plus we got to race Tesla’s all day!

Posted in Blog, commerical, Mexico, Video Tagged |