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Migrants and Minutemen

Two exhibitions at DiverseWorks explore both sides of a hot-button issue

The exhibition of people's photographs of themselves is about as objective a representation as you can get. The only editorializing is in the editing and arrangements of the photos. There are a lot of images of people making their way through or stopping to rest in the desert landscape. One series shot by a Minuteman shows a lone figure of a man on a road in the distance. Later, closer-up images show the border patrol stopping him and the man being arrested. It apparently documents a Minuteman at work.

These photos are filled with the trappings of hunting. The Minutemen wear a lot of camouflage; they also drape their trucks with it. They sport a lot of guns. In one photo, a shirtless guy sits at an outdoor table, a huge hunting knife stuck in his belt. Another photo captures a guy perched atop a deer stand and looking out into the desert. A big-gutted Minuteman slumbers atop the four-wheeler used to tow the stand.

A couple of guys grin at the camera, but most of the migrants who photographed themselves in the desert look grim and tired. Meanwhile, the smiling Minutemen who photograph themselves at the border with their shiny SUVs look like they are out for a tailgate party. For the migrants, crossing the border is a matter of life or death. The Minutemen seem convinced it is for them as well.

The Minutemen photos are filled with the trappings of hunting.
Anonymous Minuteman
The Minutemen photos are filled with the trappings of hunting.
Most of the migrants look grim and tired.
from the Border Film Project
Most of the migrants look grim and tired.

"The Border Project" and "Frontera" probably aren't going to tell you anything major you don’t already know about the border situation. But they add nuance, and they humanize the people on both sides, giving added dimension to the ongoing debate.

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